This marked the second consecutive year that Samaritan was recognized as the state’s healthiest employer, as evidenced by its innovation in employee health practices and for its progressive benefits and wellness programs.
“A significant aspect of our commitment to workplace wellness is the fact that we fund the health care of our employees through a self-insured plan managed by our health plan division, Samaritan Health Plans,” said Larry Mullins, President and CEO of Samaritan Health Services. “This year we realized a 25-percent return on our employee wellness investment, which has helped fuel the energy needed to support a common, health-focused environment across all areas of our business. We can point to the Health Plans as a critical partner in this achievement.”
Samaritan has a long-standing commitment to fostering a healthy a work environment. For example, employees are provided with an annual bank of $300 to spend on gym memberships, classes and health-related services, in addition to $0-cost health plan benefits for preventive care, health coaching, care coordination, nutrition education, tobacco cessation and flu shots. The provision of paid-time-off, which gives employees the flexibility to manage their leave for vacations, holidays and sick days, is an added incentive for staying healthy.
Samaritan is currently developing wellness initiatives that are intended to serve employees as well as the local communities it serves. Plans include installing fresh food vending machines in their SamFit fitness centers, which serve employees and the general public, and instituting a new policy guiding healthy food and drink options for all corporate events. This policy will reach across Samaritan’s multiple campuses in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties, and is expected to influence the many outside vendors who provide catering and food services to the organization.
“One year after being named the Healthiest Employer in Oregon for our size, Samaritan Health Services is continuing to raise its expectations for what a comprehensive, workplace wellness plan can achieve,” Mullins said.
Scoring for the national Healthiest Employers program, sponsored in Oregon by the Portland Business Journal, is conducted by wellness professionals and academics. They rate performance in six key areas of workplace wellness: culture and leadership commitment, foundational components, strategic planning, communications and marketing, programming and interventions, and reporting and analysis. The program recognizes small and large companies that proactively shape the health of their employees and make a commitment to impact the health of their workplace and their bottom line.