If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you know I am a major supporter of fitness and wellness activities. Our hospital has developed a very intensive wellness program as part of our self-funded health insurance program. Over the past three years we have truly bent the cost-curve of our health plan with an average increase of 2.5 percent or less annually. That compares very favorably to the national average of about 11 to 13 percent annually for hospital health plans. At its core, I believe our success has been our incentives for our employees to improve their health. Exercise, stress management, screenings, tobacco reduction, and diet management are but a few of the things that makes our plan a winning combination for not only reducing cost, but improving health. This, in turn, improves morale, productivity, and a greater sense of wellbeing.
As the leader of GRMC, I really believe I need to try my best to be a role model of these behaviors. The more I have engaged in the wellness program, the better I have felt and the healthier I am getting. So much so that I recently participated in a half-marathon.
(Pause for laughter...)
Why the pause? Because those of you who know me personally may know that I am not much of a runner. Although I was a cross country and long-distance track runner in my youth, my knees simply ache too much to run these days. My daily exercises consist of walking and using my elliptical machine. But a half-marathon?
My girlfriend Angie has participated in the PF Chang Rock and Roll Charity Marathon in Phoenix for the past two years and wanted to do it again this year. Since my parents winter in Phoenix, we decided to make it a long weekend and I signed up for the half-marathon. I have learned that a person really ought to train a little bit before taking on 13.1 miles!
I did survive - and bless her heart - Angie hung back with me as I mostly walked the course along with thousands of others who walked and jogged the trek from Phoenix to Tempe. In all, 30,000 people participated in the two events and it was really a lot of fun. I was glad to have participated and look forward to my next attempt, perhaps with a little more training and some Glucosamine and Chondroitin for my joints!
If you have set yourself a goal this year to become more active, I encourage you to visit with one of our wellness professionals at GRMC to help you develop a plan to reach your goals.