St. Vrain teachers learn their top health issues

Teachers and other employees at the St. Vrain Valley School District got a bit of a surprise while participating last fall in a new, national software program designed to help companies save money on employee health-care plans.

The teachers found that their top health issues are obesity, inactivity and depression, said David Burnison, assistant superintendent of human resources at St. Vrain Valley School District.

The results were based on calculations made by the ValuePort software program designed by the National Business Coalition on Health, of which the school district is a member. The program helps companies identify employee needs so that health-care dollars can be spent most efficiently, Burnison said.

Burnison and other administrators had predicted that the top health issues for employees would be cardiac-related, since heart disease is the No. 1 health issue in the United States.

Armed with the obesity information, a school district wellness committee has offered a healthy cooking class and is working to bring a voluntary Weight Watchers program to schools for after-school meetings, Burnison said. It’s time to get the candy jars off of employee desks and to get more workers using standing work stations, Burnison said.

The ultimate goal is to get school district’s health insurance premiums down, or at least keep them at a steady level, Burnison said. But getting employees to think about their own health behaviors also results in a “better quality of life for them,” he said.

Employees answered questions and demographic information in the ValuePort system, which was offered free of charge through a nationwide test period sponsored by the national Centers for Disease Control and the nonprofit health group, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey. Health-insurance companies Cigna and Kaiser Permanente also released general claims data to the ValuePort analysis group.

St. Vrain has 3,400 employees eligible for insurance.

HIPAACentral

Do you worry about the protection of your health-care information, knowing that so much more personal health information is online these days?

The HIPAA Omnibus rule went into effect this month to beef up patient privacy to address the issue. It’s administrated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which can issue fines and criminal penalties to companies that don’t comply with more strict rules about how to use patient information. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Coalfire Systems Inc. in Louisville has created HIPAACentral – an online security exchange software program that could help thousands of companies that now face compliance, said Andrew Hicks, the company’s health care practice director, who is based at Coalfire’s south Denver office.

Coalfire found that many health-care subcontractors — mainly billing companies — aren’t aware that they have to comply with the new rules, Hicks said. The program is subscription-based. It offers a vendor risk management questionnaire, training, an online compliance registry and a “knowledge exchange” area where customers can discuss what works for them in terms of compliance, Hicks said.
 
A focus on men

Men – it’s your turn. Now you can look your best, manage stress, improve your diet and increase your energy through the Men’s Health Group starting in Lafayette.

Nutrition, health and life coach Mike Lamitola decided to hold the three-month program to address men’s health issues and concerns.

“There are definitely a lot of women’s support groups out there. I didn’t see any for men, so I thought I would start one,” Lamitola said.

Lamitola will be joined by Robert Smigelski, a chiropractor and the president of BioTransformational Institute in Lafayette.

Men who join the group will receive coaching and in-person group support, as well as access to an online group forum. Lamitola said the group talk about exercise, but there won’t be any in the actual classes.

The hour-and-a-half sessions are being held every other Tuesday evening at the Community Holistic Health Center at 409 S. Public Road in Lafayette.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or email bpotter@bcbr.com.