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Text logo reads, "Health Connections from UPlan Wellness." The second "o" in Connections is a red apple.

UPlan Wellness introduces Health Connections

By Susan Wiese

Brief, January 11, 2006;
latest update January 17, 2006

Has your New Year's resolution lost its staying power--already? Need motivational support to trim the waistline? Kick the habit? Want an incentive to pick up the pace on the treadmill?

This month UPlan Wellness introduces Health Connections, a multi-year, multi-faceted approach to wellness that offers University faculty and staff a financial reward for health improvement. Health Connections is an initiative that goes beyond traditional health promotion by combining Web-based health resources with over-the-phone counseling and financial rewards to encourage employees to make changes for the better.

"The goal is simple: support employees and their families in their quest to be healthier, and reward people when they succeed," says vice president for human resources Carol Carrier. "This is our investment in prevention."

New nurse line--
"Ask Mayo Clinic," 24/7

Included in the package of new, expanded health resources for UPlan members in 2006 is a 24-hour nurse line, Ask Mayo Clinic. Imagine:

It's late at night. You wake up feeling miserable and have a high fever. It is just the flu...or something more serious?

A call to Ask Mayo Clinic at 1-888-887-2593 can put you in touch with an experienced, registered nurse who can answer your questions about illness, injury, or general health topics. This service is available for University employees 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information, click on Health Connections.

Log on, learn, earn

Logging on to Health Connections is the starting point for employees who want to improve their health and well-being. When you complete a 20-minute online wellness assessment, you get a personalized profile of your health status and risk factors. You're also eligible to receive a $65 reward. You can earn another $65 by completing a follow-up health improvement program.

Choose your way to wellness

Based on results of your wellness assessment, if you are at moderate to high risk for serious illness--for example, due to high blood pressure or weight--you will be invited to work with a health adviser over the phone to make lifestyle changes. If you are a UPlan member with a chronic condition, such as asthma, coronary artery disease, or diabetes, you will be able to work with a registered nurse to increase your knowledge about how to better manage the disease.

Targeted intervention with guidance and support tailored to the individual can lead to better medical decision-making. Lifestyle and disease management programs, according to Carrier, have the potential to save health care dollars for the UPlan member and for the University.

To ensure the confidentiality of personal health data, UPlan Wellness contracted with Harris HealthTrends, Inc. (877-247-9204) to administer the Health Connections initiative. Harris has dedicated one phone line exclusively for University of Minnesota UPlan medical program members.

The online wellness assessment is offered through StayWell Health Management (800-926-5455) on behalf of Harris HealthTrends.

An invitation to participate in Health Connections, along with more information about how to connect to the new, expanded benefits and resources from UPlan Wellness, will arrive soon in employees' home mailboxes.

Susan Wiese is the communications project manager for the Wellness Program.

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