Safety | Wellness
Occupational Health and Safety
Our community looks to Texas Health for guidance and inspiration in adopting a healthier lifestyle, so improving health begins with us.
We take innovative steps to inspire change in the way employees think about their own health, and implement behavior interventions that improve quality of life over the long term.
Keeping Employees Safe at Work
Employees are most at risk from harm due to unsafe lifting of patients, falls, strains, sprains and exposure to medical waste and chemicals. We design our risk-reduction programs based on thorough review of claims data, health risk assessments and population health trends.
Texas Health relies on a variety of education and monitoring mechanisms to protect employees from harm. From their first day on the job, new employees receive a safety orientation and participate in a fun, game show-style training session that reinforces safe behaviors. We also make sure they have the physical ability to perform their jobs safely, or reassign duties as needed.
Across the workplace, we also:
- Teach and continuously reinforce the appropriate techniques and equipment that employees can use to lift and transport patients.
- Monitor those with the greatest exposure to communicable diseases, blood and bodily fluids, or hazardous materials. We provide vaccinations (including flu shots) at no cost.
- Educate and provide clinicians with mechanisms to safely dispose of medical waste.
- Monitor potential worksite dangers and improvements made against existing hazards.
- Evaluate frequency of reportable injuries and illness.
These programs have helped us continually reduce the frequency of work-related injuries (50 percent fewer claims per employee) and the severity of injuries (50 percent reduction in cost per employee) since 2005. Our lost time incident rate has been 1.4 since 2008, which surpasses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s industry benchmark of 1.7.
Additionally, our workers’ compensation incidents dropped from 2,500 incidents in 2005 to 1,534 in 2012. Costs incurred in premiums, fees and claims dropped from $5.4 million to under $2.6 million. This is significant not only because it is under national benchmarks, but also because our employee population has grown 15 percent during the same timeframe.
Texas Health Resources’ award-winning Be Healthy employee wellness program is designed to motivate employees to move from health awareness to action. It promotes the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices, and offers strategies and rewards to help employees make necessary changes.
The program offers on-site Weight Watchers meetings, case management, wellness coaching, a tobacco cessation program, an employee assistance program and other health improvement resources.
To improve our employees’ health, we also:
- Host free annual health fairs.
- Offer incentives for completing health risk assessments, and for participating in wellness exams and cancer screenings.
- Provide access to biometric testing and personal health coaching.
- Encourage exercise through discounted fitness club memberships and free fitness challenges.
- Keep our campuses tobacco-free.
- Offer a menu of easily identifiable healthy food items to employees at a reduced cost.
- Deliver medical nutrition therapy and a personalized healthy eating plan to select employees.
These efforts have reduced the prevalence of obesity, smoking, high stress and other high-risk categories. In turn, medical and pharmacy utilization has dropped, and our employee medical costs18 have increased only 24 percent from 2003 to 2012. The national average is 85 percent.
Recent recognitions of our Total Health program include:
In the coming year, we plan to:
- Assign a personal care manager to high-cost claimants19 to help improve their health outcomes.
- Launch an updated safety training program to ensure safety stays top of mind.
- Integrate our employee health database with our workplace injury tracking tool to better identify and resolve safety issues.
- Continue to promote safe behaviors.
18 Per employee per year medical costs.
19 Our high-cost claimants represent 1 percent of medical plan membership, but drive almost half the costs.