Health Care

Corporate Wellness: Fit Companies

by Patrick Flanagan

Seven Acadiana companies earned the AHA's Gold Fit status for promoting workforce wellness.

Receiving the Gold Fit designation requires that companies meet certain criteria of the American Heart Association's Fit-Friendly program. According to the AHA, a Gold Fit company is "offering employees physical activity support, increasing healthy eating options at work and promoting a wellness culture."

Here's the 2012 Gold Fit companies from Acadiana:

Acadian Ambulance
Founded: 1971
Number of employees: 3,800
Employee Wellness Program: For more than a decade, healthy living has been promoted among employees of Acadian Ambulance, says wellness coordinator Chris Johnson. The company's in-house wellness program includes healthy meal options at Acadian's cafeteria, health coaching, biometric screenings and a yearly incentive-based fitness challenge, to name a few. "We are actively promoting the concept of Wellness & Safety ... living it, leading it ... because they impact each other," says Johnson. "Employees that are healthy will be less likely to sustain injury, and will be mentally and physically alert, allowing them to do their job safely."

Dauterive Hospital
Founded: 1920
Number of employees: 420
Employee Wellness Program: At Dauterive Hospital in New Iberia, 2012 was a busy year for promoting wellness in the workplace. In addition to joining the Smart Choices, Better Health Hospital Campaign, Dauterive, an affiliate of The Regional Health System of Acadiana, staged a 12-week on-site weight management program, free-of-charge, for employees, as well as Wellness Lesson Plans, a free after-hours exercise program, and healthy eating options, to list a few.

Heart Hospital of Lafayette
Founded: 2004
Number of employees: 235
Employee Wellness Program: No info provided.

Lafayette Consolidated Government
Founded: 1996
Number of employees: 2,100
Employee Wellness Program: To cut back on missed work and excessive group insurance rates, Lafayette Consolidated Government offers employees a variety of health services, says Community Services Coordinator Beth Chiasson. Those services, Chiasson says, include cholesterol and blood pressure checks, flu shots, wellness exams and an annual health fair.

Our Lady of Lourdes
Founded: 1949
Number of Employees: 1,408
Employee Wellness Program: Our Lady of Lourdes encourages employee wellness through its Healthy Lives program. "The Healthy Lives program offers financial incentives for employees to engage in healthy initiatives," says Lourdes Director of Community Relations Elisabeth Arnold. "Points are offered for participating in exercise programs, educational classes, and improved fitness measures." Our Lady also provides health coaches, who assist employees in reaching their fitness and weight management goals. Currently, Arnold says more than 650 employees at Our Lady of Lourdes are enrolled in the program.

Regional Medical Center of Acadiana
Founded: 1985
Number of employees: 500
Employee Wellness Program: Eighty percent of the employees at Regional Medical Center of Acadiana got involved in the hospital's wellness program in 2012. The program encourages workforce wellness by offering financial incentives to participating employees. Another of the hospital's 2012 healthy living initiatives included the distribution of FitBit's - an electronic device that tracks the number of steps taken, the calories gained and the calories burned in a day - to employees.

Women's & Children's Hospital
Founded: 1983
Number of employees: 650
Employee Wellness Program: For employees of Women's & Children's Hospital, healthy living is promoted in a number of ways, says Trevis Badeaux, director of marketing. Earlier this year, Badeaux says a walking trail was installed around the hospital's campus, and between April 16 and July 6, a total of 130 employees competed in teams of up to five members in a 12 week Healthy Weight Challenge. Recently, Badeaux says the hospital distributed an electronic device called FitBit to employees. The device, Badeaux says, counts the number of steps taken, the number of stairs climbed, as well as the calories gained and burned by a user during the course of a day, which can then be uploaded to a mobile phone or home computer for tracking one's health. "The device is in addition to wellness coaching sessions offered at no charge to employees who fell into certain risk factors - overweight, tobacco use, etc."

[Editor's Note: This is the first in what will be a regular ABiz feature on fit executives and corporate wellness programs.]