Chamber Partners with University of Delaware

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In today’s complex health care environment, consumers are increasingly on their own to find solutions for their medical insurance and health care needs. In a similar fashion, small business owners try to provide access to medical insurance and wellness programs to help their employees. Given the complexity of the medical insurance options under Obamacare, many businesses find it difficult to offer attractive plans and have very little time to even consider offering an employee wellness program. To address these two very important concerns, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences STAR Health have put together a pilot program for employers to help their employees be well and stay fit. Through education, research and planned activities a new program known as ChamberSTAR will offer a seamless solution for navigating primary health care concerns and
promoting healthy habits.

Given the constant increase in the cost of medical insurance, employers and employees have been looking for ways to drive down these costs. Chronic diseases such as depression and hypertension can lead to a decline in the overall health of employees in a workplace, contribute to an increase in health-related expenses for employers and employees, and lead to lower productivity and missed days of work. Many businesses have realized the benefits of health promotion; and to curb the costs of rising health care, offer workplace health programs to their employees. The workplace can be a place to promote wellness while providing employees with opportunities for better long-term health.

A workplace wellness program is designed to support healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes. Successful programs consist of activities such as health education and coaching, weight management programs, medical screenings, on-site fitness programs, and more. Workplace wellness programs are intended to facilitate employee health, including
allowing time for exercise, providing on-site kitchens and eating areas to help promote healthy food options, holding "walk and talk" meetings, and offering financial and other incentives for participation. Effective workplace programs, policies, and environments that are health-focused and worker-centered have the potential to significantly benefit employers, employees, their families, and communities.

ChamberSTAR, is an innovative employee wellness program that will offer an effective and affordable wellness program to Chamber members. Workplace wellness programs have become more common in the last three to five years for large companies but many small businesses that want to offer an employee wellness program do not have the resources to do it. The ChamberStar program is designed to offer the small business owner an affordable wellness program that is convenient, comprehensive and supports a healthy life style while targeting chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

The pilot program wil run for seven months. By partnering with the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware, the Chamber will offer members a comprehensive programs with a wide variety of services. Participants can look forward to working with the Nurse Managed Primary Care Center, have access to nutrition and exercise counseling during their journey to improved wellness and work with a health coach for accountability. At the conclusion of the seven-month pilot program, a report will be generated to measure the results. In addition, the program will be adjusted to reflect the input of the participating companies and employees and rolled out at the Chamber’s second annual Health and Wellness Expo in June of 2017.

To help promote a healthy lifestyle and keep the participants engaged, ChamberSTAR will be part of an exciting campaign called “Motivate the First State,” developed in collaboration with the Governor’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Participants that undertake healthy activities will earn points or kudos that will be converted into cash that will be donated to three local charities: Special Olympics of Delaware, Boys & Girls Club of Delaware, and the YMCA of Delaware. Healthy activities vary from walking, cycling, jogging, eating fruits and vegetables, dancing, and many more activities. Using the free iPhone and Android app called “Fitness Plus 3,” members will record their activities, wirelessly upload them, and track their kudos in comparison to teammates and other participating companies.

“ChamberStar is a win-win for the participating companies, the employees, the Chamber and the University. I think participants will find the program to not only be educational but an effective way to become more fit and adopt healthy habits.” said Chamber President Mark Kleinschmidt. If you would like more information or would like to participate in the pilot
program, please email mark@ncccc.com.
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