By Tia Lyn Lecorchick staff writer
Optional health screenings that are part of the new Wellness Program for county employees started up earlier this month, with an approximate 90 percent participation rate. The screenings are set to become mandatory for employees beginning in July of this year. These screenings would include comprehensive blood work, blood pressure testing, and Body Mass Index (BMI) analysis. The screenings also give patients a “heart age” versus a patient’s actual age based on both genetic and behavioral factors. The health department provides individualized consultations and classes to advise patients on how to improve and manage their health.
According to Michael Lamar, the county manager, these screenings have opened up the conversation surrounding health and raised awareness among employees. “There is some really good data in these screening and it’s been really well received even though a lot of people had some initial phobias and fears about it.” said Lamar. “Privacy of medical history was a concern for a lot of people when we first introduced this, but what has happened is a lot of people are talking amongst themselves about their screening results.” The county decided to implement these screenings to cultivate a healthier workforce while reducing long-term healthcare costs. “We are trying to get a healthier workforce without spending a lot of money. If you have a healthy workforce, it’s better for everyone,” said Lamar earlier this year. “If we have the ability to help our employees be cognizant of what they are dealing health-wise and to get what they need at a better rate, the better off we all are,” said Ellen Warren, a Morgan County Commissioner.