September 9, 2011 — Well, 'Hoos, it's time. If you don't have a healthy lifestyle – or even if you do – the University of Virginia's new program, Hoo's Well@, is here to help you improve your health, reduce your risks for disease and keep you on track with a wellness plan tailored just for you.
It's mostly free and all voluntary for Academic Division and Medical Center employees and their spouses who are enrolled in the U.Va. Health Plan. (Weight Watchers programs have fees, but the University offers several savings options.)
By now, employees should have received Hoo's Well@ information packets mailed to their home addresses describing the details. To get started and earn a $75 Visa reward card, two steps are required: Schedule and attend a biometric screening by Oct. 8, and complete a health assessment through Aetna by Dec. 1.
"Created in partnership with Aetna, IM-Rec (Intramural-Recreational Sports) and others across Grounds, Hoo's Well@ is designed to help you and your spouses on the health plan get healthy and stay healthy," writes Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer, in her introductory letter online.
To celebrate the launch of the new program, Human Resources is hosting a University-wide wellness fair on Sept. 19, from 7 to 11 a.m., at the John Paul Jones Arena. Employees can meet some of the University's wellness vendors, including U.Va. experts on fitness and nutrition. You can also receive a free flu shot at the fair.
Biometric screenings can be scheduled at the website, and will be offered between Sept. 12 and Oct. 8 at several locations, including Newcomb, Jordan and Sponsors halls, the Facilities Management lunchroom and University Hall. Appointment times are in the morning, because the testing recommends that employees fast nine to 12 hours beforehand. You must bring your University ID and Aetna insurance card to the appointment.
|University-wide Wellness Fair
Sept. 19, 7 to 11 a.m.
John Paul Jones Arena
Free flu shots available.
The screenings check indicators of health risks – blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and waist circumference. The appointment takes about 10 minutes and should be considered time worked.
Screening results are given to the employee and retained only by Aetna, but it is recommended that the information be shared with your primary care doctor. Both the screening and the health assessment are kept private and confidential. The University does not have access to the information.
To complete the second step, the questionnaire, go to the Aetna website, create a user name and password for logging in and click on "take a health assessment." Have your Aetna member ID number and screening results handy.
The health assessment generates a personalized health report and recommendations of wellness programs to help create a customized plan and "to do" list for making lifestyle changes and improving health. Aetna has a free online program with information and suggestions for making healthy changes. U.Va. offers a number of free programs that can help employees reach health goals.
For example, if your goal is to include exercise in your daily routine, you can choose to take a Hoo's Well@ exercise class through IM-Rec, join Human Resources' Hoo's Fit walking program or WorkMed's STEPs@UVa sessions – or do all three.
"Once you complete the biometric screening and health risk assessment, Aetna's system will create a list of possible action items for you," said Anne Broccoli, U.Va. benefits director. "You can pick which of those you'd like to do, and then for each one you 'complete' by checking off you've completed it, you are eligible for a $25 Visa reward card, for up to four items."
IM-Rec is offering a free "Get Started," exercise class as part of its Hoo's Well@ programming, which will meet three times a week for five weeks. Go here for details.
Another specialized program addresses pregnant mothers. They can earn a $100 Visa reward card by enrolling in the Beginning Right Maternity Program, which provides information on prenatal care and breastfeeding, plus other benefits.
There's also an incentive for quitting smoking through U.Va.'s Quit for Life Program: $100 that goes into one's paycheck (after taxes).
Reward cards are considered taxable income, like cash rewards and bonuses; the tax will be deducted from paychecks. Allow eight to 10 weeks to receive one of these cards, which will be sent to home addresses.