Press Release
July 27, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Kicks Off Unprecedented, Groundbreaking Wellness Program with City of Chicago's Leaders

World Leader in Well-Being Designed Program for More than 47,000 City Employees and Spouses to Address Specific Challenge Areas
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - To promote a healthier workforce and counter rising health insurance costs, Mayor Emanuel today kicked off the implementation of the City of Chicago’s new wellness program, which will be offered to more than 47,000 city employees and eligible spouses as of this week.

“Our Wellness program will improve the quality of life for thousands of city workers and their families, while dramatically lowering the city’s health care costs,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The result will be a healthier, happier workforce, and a more efficient city government. This is a win-win that is only possible because of the support of our labor unions, and I applaud them for their efforts to help Chicago’s workers take control of their own health.”

Mayor Emanuel joined other city leaders in taking his biometric screening today, the first step for any participant in the city’s wellness program. The Mayor was joined by Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks to kick off the wellness program.

Representatives from the city and the unions representing much of its union workforce collaborated on the development of the wellness plan through the City of Chicago Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC), co-chaired by Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson and Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation Labor.

“The wellness plan, developed in partnership between organized labor and the Mayor’s office through the LMCC, will go a long way toward giving employees better control of their health, giving them broader access to comprehensive and preventive care and helping contain out-of-pocket expenses while also saving the city and taxpayers money,” Ramirez said.

The city’s wellness program, designed and managed by global well-being leader, Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY), offers a  suite of innovative initiatives and is viewed as the largest, most comprehensive government wellness program ever introduced, rivaling any private-sector wellness program in its size, breadth of offerings and comprehensive approach. The program is unprecedented in terms of:

  • the diversity of the population served;
  • the participation of 30 labor groups;
  • a participation-based program that does not measure health outcomes but minimal monthly activity;
  • offerings at a vast number of workplace locations, which include biometric screening events at 60 locations, allowing easy access for employees;
  • four “To Get Started” steps as gating events in year one for employees and spouses or domestic partners; and
  • requirement of monthly ongoing participation.

“One of the greatest cities in the world demands the best in addressing the critical and unique health challenges of its diverse employees,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Healthways. “The program’s visionary and groundbreaking initiatives, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will propel the city and its employees to even greater heights. City leaders instinctively know that such an investment in the health and productivity of employees will have a direct positive impact on the city’s bottom line."

As part of the “Chicago Lives Healthy” program, employees and spouses are required to do any one of these on-site/telephonic wellness events: attend an on-site educational seminar, complete an on-site challenge, complete a health check-in call or complete a telephonic coaching call.

They are also required to participate in activities each month via Well-Being Connect™, an online wellness portal that includes a personalized well-being plan, groups, challenges and robust health information resources. Activities include:

  • participate in a local community event;
  • set up their Well-Being Plan;
  • complete an action item;
  • track body weight;
  • track food servings;
  • track exercise activities;
  • view/listen/read/rate resource material;
  • complete a journal entry.

The city’s wellness program includes employees from five sister agencies. Its management, delivery of services and the implementation of new tools and capabilities is provided by Healthways. The program includes:

  • Biometric Screenings
  • Well-Being Assessment™
  • Well-Being Connect
  • Health Advisor/Health Check-Ins
  • Health Risk Coaching
  • Onsite programming (campaigns, challenges, competitions, onsite in-person coaching) with three wellness coordinators across a broad geographic area
  • Custom marketing, incentives management and engagement packages to help develop a program brand that can be built upon year-over-year to build awareness and engagement

City workers are signing up for the wellness program now until late August, and then they’ll start to receive their biometric screenings.

The City is also encouraging all Chicagoans to take steps to become healthier. Last year the City released its first-ever public health agenda, Healthy Chicago, which outlines 12 health priority areas that the Department of Public Health focusing on to help make Chicago the healthiest city in the country, such as tobacco use, obesity, heart disease.

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