Originally published Feb. 27, 2008.

BenefitsUSMU is offering all benefit-eligible staff and faculty members access to a new program designed to measure overall health and provide individualized information for prevention and wellness, at no cost – not even from your $500 preventive healthcare allowance. Read more.

Upcoming screening dates, times and locations:

Mar. 5: Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall, 7:45-11:30 a.m.
Mar. 6: Hall of Champions, Loyd All-Sports Center, 7:45-11:30 a.m.

Make a screening appointment.

In previous years SMU offered health screenings paid through insurance, but the faculty/staff participation rate was less than 10 percent, says Sheri Starkey, director of total compensation and associate director of human resources.

“When we talked to people on campus, we learned that convenience is important,” Starkey says. “We heard repeatedly that faculty and staff members didn’t have time to go to a doctor. This year, we sought a provider who would come to us, who had the mobility to do the screenings in several locations throughout the campus.” Human Resources has chosen Concentra to conduct the screenings. (Visit Concentra’s online scheduling page for SMU to set up your screening appointment.)

They also learned that cost is a factor. “People who receive a routine physical from a doctor typically will use the entire $500 in their plan’s preventive-care allowance, plus more out of pocket,” Starkey says.

In response, Human Resources decided to pay for the screenings outright. “With medical costs in the United States expected to double in the next 10 years, we want to do whatever we can to keep our own costs under control,” Starkey says. “We’re picking up the cost on the front end to help control the cost on the back end, and now people can use their $500 preventive allowance for other needs.”

Employees can submit their completed health risk assessment (HRA) at the time of their screening and walk away with an 8-10 page wellness profile “that tells you what you’re doing right and where there’s opportunity to improve,” Starkey says. The University itself is piloting this innovation, she adds: “This is first time Concentra has done this for anyone.”

In addition, an onsite health coach will be available on a voluntary and confidential basis to help individuals “put their health reports in context,” Starkey says. The coach is a medical clinician who also can provide information on resources available to employees through SMU insurance and wellness programs.

Human Resources piloted the new program with the Business and Finance division in late January and early February 2008 and achieved a 44 percent participation rate, Starkey says. “Were hoping to achieve that for the rest of the campus, if not more.”

The confidential screening – which requires a blood sample drawn by finger stick – will include tests for blood pressure, HDL/LDL/total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose, as well as measurements for height, weight and waist circumference.

Completion of the HRA qualifies SMU employees for a 20 percent discount on their 2009 Blue Cross Blue Shield deductible. Current Aetna members who change to BCBSTX plans in 2009 are eligible for the deductible discount. (High-deductible plans with a Health Savings Account are not eligible for the discount.)

In addition, all participants will earn 5 Wellpower Body credits.

For the most accurate screening, it is suggested that participants fast for at least 8 hours prior to the screening. Water is recommended, but coffee, tea and other beverages will affect results. To make an appointment, visit Concentra’s online scheduling page for SMU.