Tangerine Wellness Program Rewards Valley Medical Center Employees to Watch Their Weight

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Incentive based weight management program improves the lives of employees at Seattle area medical facility as it will help reduce the cost of healthcare.

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“In addition, striving for a healthier workforce is a method for Valley Medical Center to control healthcare costs over time and continue to provide affordable healthcare to our employees while maintaining our exceptional current levels of plan benefits.”

Tangerine Wellness, the first incentive-based weight management program for employers that pays cash or rewards, is going pound for pound with more than 500 employees at Valley Medical Center (VMC), the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, by rewarding them to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for the long term.

While Valley Medical serves more than 400,000 patients a year, its staff was not as healthy as it could be. Nor was their healthcare balance sheet. From 2008 to 2009, Valley Medical experienced an increase of 130 percent in claims costs related to Type 2 diabetes, a disease directly associated with obesity. Their cost per member per month or PMPM increased 111 percent during this period. A smoking cessation program was one attempt to reduce healthcare costs over the long-term, but the outcomes were not enough to significantly impact their overall rising healthcare claims costs, which rose 30 percent from 2008 to 2009.

Valley Medical Center decided to implement Tangerine Wellness to encourage employee wellness. “We are in the healthcare business, and we need to do more to ensure we help our employees maintain good health,” said Barbara Mitchell, Senior Vice President, HR, at Valley Medical Center. “In addition, striving for a healthier workforce is a method for Valley Medical Center to control healthcare costs over time and continue to provide affordable healthcare to our employees while maintaining our exceptional current levels of plan benefits.”

Boasting a 71 percent participation rate, VMC employees have already seen results with more than 840 pounds lost just a few weeks into the program. Of the 527 enrolled participants, 62 percent are overweight or obese, with an average body mass index (BMI) of 27.72.

Using Tangerine’s online tools, VMC also can easily manage their wellness program from 10 different locations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tangerine’s online access and self-reporting method allows all participants to experience the same program access and ease of use regardless of whether they work at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m. VMC has opted for participants to earn reward points that they can then use to purchase items from the Tangerine online reward store.

Tangerine’s voluntary program offers incentives to employees who improve their health by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The recurring quarterly program encourages weight management through individual rewards and teamwork. The long-term program is a simple, innovative solution to employers’ healthcare costs woes because it tackles the most controllable and expensive health condition – obesity.

Tangerine's customized, fully outsourced program includes a suite of online and offline services. By offering cumulative rewards, and allowing participants to track their
results online, Tangerine keeps the program interesting and easy for its participants.

About Tangerine Wellness
Founded in 2004, Tangerine Wellness is the leading corporate weight-management program that directly rewards employees for losing weight and for maintaining a healthy weight. Tangerine's interactive weight-loss program has a direct and positive effect on employee healthcare costs, morale and productivity. Tangerine has successfully implemented programs in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and government/university entities that are translating into direct healthcare cost-savings. Go to http://www.tangerinewellness.com for further information.

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Anne Steinberg
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