“It’s (wellness) actually the focus of health care now, because prevention is the best treatment for any disease,” Leeann Denning, Associate Degree Coordinator at Shawnee State University, said. “What we’re trying to do is raise awareness that really screening is a good thing to have, because the more you screen and the more you can prevent the better the treatment, the lower the health care cost for everyone. That’s very timely for right now when health care costs are skyrocketing and as a new health care plan comes in, prevention is going to be the focus. So it’s paramount.”
Denning explained what the students from SSU were involved with at the wellness event.
“We have a mobile health unit here. And we’re doing breast cancer screening, derma-scans for skin cancer. Students are doing blood pressure checks, height and weight,” Denning said. “And we’re just meeting the community and doing some teaching about health care and health maintenance.”
The insurance carrier, Anthem, picked up the tab for the event.
“For large employers Anthem will give you X amount of dollars to spend on wellness,” Gary Duzan of Portsmouth Insurance Agency said. “And they will take X amount of dollars off your premium to get the folks involved.”
Duzan said the company got the safety committee together, and came up with an event that featured multiple booths.
“We’ve got SOMC (Southern Ohio Medical Center) here, we’ve got The Ohio State University Extension Service, We’ve got the (Scioto) County Health Department, behavioral health. Behavioral health is important. It is health care these days. We’re doing everything from blood pressures to cholesterol screening, body fat, checking everything out,” Duzan said. “If we can just find one or two people that maybe have a problem they didn’t know they have, we’ve been very successful.”
The Wellness clinic could not have been possible without the support of the Scioto County Commissioners.
“One of the major expenses for the county is health care,” Tom Reiser, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners, said. “And we worked very hard last year to bring those health care premiums down. And we’re trying not to eliminate coverages so we’re trying to eliminate usage. And the way you do that is through education and awareness and screenings and things like this. Anthem has joined with us to support this. And we’re just tickled pink at the turnout that we have had. Everybody wins in this situation.”
Reiser said it was a cholesterol screening several years ago that forced him to change his lifestyle, specifically his eating habits, and lose weight while becoming healthier.
“It’s a great thing for them (Scioto County employees), because it’s going to give them an idea how their health is,” Regina Tipton, wellness specialist at the SOMC Life Center, said. “It gives them a snapshot between getting heights, weights, blood pressures, body fat, also waist measurement and cholesterol and glucose. So we can get an idea where they need the help so we can get them to their family physician and prevent a catastrophic event.”
Scioto County Commissioners Administrative Assistant Steve Wells summed up the wellness event.
“As you can see a lot of people put a lot of work into this think, but working with the commissioners and realizing that everything meshes together, realizing that if your health insurance is high it’s probably because you’re having a lot of claims,” Wells said. “So if we can work on wellness and get that awareness going, me included, it’s an initial effort to bring a focus to that. I hope it clicks with everybody and we can all do better.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org