In a few days, UofL’s Health Care Integration Team will pick up an Excellence in Human Resources Practices Award that recognizes the successes of the Get Healthy Now integrated health management and conditions management programs and Cardinal Care EPO insurance option. As part of the award, CUPA-HR also will contribute $2,000 to an endowment or scholarship at UofL.

The Health Care Integration Team “meets regularly and we focus on developing innovative health care initiatives to help our faculty and staff lead healthier lives while helping the university contain our long-term health care costs,” said Dana Hummel, employee benefits director and an HCIT member. The team has representatives from Human Resources, the College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville Physicians Association and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs.

CUPA-HR selected UofL for the national award based on that collaboration and on quantifiable successes:

  • Get Healthy Now’s 2.67 return on investment after its first three years of operation (which means that UofL saved $2.67 in health care expenses for every $1 it spent on Get Healthy Now program costs)
  • An annual health care cost increase for Get Healthy Now participants of only 2.5 percent compared to one of 19.5 percent for employees who do not participate
  • A savings of $3,500 year-over-year health care costs per participant in UofL’s Diabetes Management Program during its first year (a total health care cost reduction on average of from $11,500 to $8,000 per participant)
  • Increased participation of benefits eligible employees in Get Healthy Now from 50 percent in 2005 to 70 percent in September 2010.
  • Cardinal Care advantages of lower health care costs for faculty and staff and greater support of UofL physicians and University Hospital

In his application to CUPA, however, Sam Connally, vice president for human resources, noted that intangible value comes from the approach UofL uses toward employee health care.

“For employees, the Health Care Integration Team has demonstrated that the most effective strategy for containing long-term health care costs is to help employees actually live healthier lives, enhancing the value that employees vest in the university,” he wrote.

UofL’s efforts to contain health care costs started nearly a decade ago in 2002 when it became self-insured.

Before that, the university contracted for employee health coverage with a national insurance company. Rates were going up in the double-digit percentage points every year based on actuarial estimates of what usage would be.

Being self-insured allows UofL to pay only for the health care employees actually used. But that also means that the university pays all employee health care costs – from the portion of an employee’s monthly fee to any claims he or she has.

Get Healthy Now started in 2005 to help employees lead healthier lives – but, in so doing, also to help the university contain health care costs. That program has expanded and others, such as condition management programs, have been added since then.

Besides the CUPA-HR award, Get Healthy Now also recently received a Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement award from Louisville Metro as well as American Heart Association designation as a Platinum level Fit Friendly Workplace. AHA will present GHN with that recognition at the Kentuckiana Heart Walk, Sept. 24 at Waterfront Park. UofL is the first employer in the Louisville area to receive a platinum designation, according to the AHA.

Get Healthy Now also is a finalist in the second Business First Fit Healthiest Employers of Greater Louisville competition in the category for businesses with 5,000 or more employees. The newspaper will announce that award in November. Get Healthy Now won the award in 2010.