A newly published report on the Labor Management Project (LMP)’s Worksite Wellness Survey Report of 1199SEIU/League Hospitals shows what our partner hospitals are doing to improve staff health and wellness. It also provides an opportunity for hospitals to examine their practices to consider ways to enhance their worksite and wellness programs, including coordination with programs and services available through the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund (NBF).
Findings included the following:
- Workplace wellness committees. Nearly half (19) of the 39 hospitals reported that they do not have a worksite wellness program with a budget and dedicated staff, which are basic requirements for program success. Moreover, just one-third (13) of all responding hospitals said they have a labor-management wellness committee that is co-chaired by a manager and union member. Based on our experience at the LMP, committees with labor and management co-leads may have the greatest chance of successfully engaging all employees, regardless of title or union status.
- Identifying employee needs. While two-thirds (26) of hospitals reported offering Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) to employees, only 15% (6) said they provide counseling and referral services for employees with identified risks. Research has shown that HRAs provided alone are less effective than HRAs provided with additional interventions such as health education and referrals to health promotion programs.
- Supportive policies. The percent of surveyed hospitals limiting availability of sugary drinks is low, ranging from 21% for meetings and events to 31% in vending machines. In cafeterias, hospitals have placed much greater importance on increasing healthier choices (56%) than in reducing the availability of unhealthy foods and beverages (26%).
The report includes recommendations to participating hospitals. Among other things, they were encouraged to assess current practices and amend them as needed to ensure that they include the following:
- A labor-management worksite wellness committee that is co-chaired by labor and management, and that operates with a committee charter, regular meetings, and clear roles and responsibilities, providing guidance regarding all worksite health promotion and employee engagement activities.
- Dedicated staff support for the workplace wellness committee, including a wellness coordinator and a budget.
- HRA offerings tied to health education and other follow-up programs.
- Worksite programs coordinated with the programs and services offered by the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund.
The nearly 30-page report documents the purpose, methodology, and outcomes of the survey administered to 40 League Hospitals in the summer and fall of 2015. Authorized by the Workplace and Community Health Oversight Committee composed of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes (League), the NBF, and the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, the survey assessed workplace programs and practices in the League’s hospitals during calendar year 2014. The survey was designed to:
- Establish a citywide inventory of current worksite wellness programs, services and polices
Identify program areas and issues for enhancement
- Serve as a guide for individual hospitals to address identified gaps
- Serve as a baseline to measure progress over time
It included questions about the resources available to deliver worksite wellness programs in 13 key programmatic areas such as nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco cessation. Thirty-nine out of 40 eligible hospitals completed the assessment, for a response rate of 98%.
Each participating hospital and its Union counterparts receive a confidential customized report that include key results and recommendations. The results of the survey will help inform the development and refinement of state-of-the-art wellness/health promotion programs in sites where 1199SEIU members work. League hospitals can obtain assistance from the LMP’s Workplace and Community Health Program in reviewing report findings and recommendations and in initiating or strengthening programs that address the health and well-being of workers.