Wellness for all!

In its fifth year, the BCM BeWell program is having a measurable impact at Baylor College of Medicine. Building on that success, the program’s leaders hope to improve the health and well-being of even more people. That’s why the program was expanded in 2019 to include spouses and domestic partners of benefits-eligible employees who are enrolled in a BCM medical plan.

“Adding spouses to the BCM BeWell program expands our wellness community to the home, creates accountability and increases engagement,” said Dane Friend, vice president of human resources.

This means that spouses and domestic partners have access to most of the same wellness activities and programs as Baylor employees, including:

  • Vitality Health Review – Learn about opportunities to improve personal health based on a 10 minute questionnaire
  • Off-Site Biometric Screening – complimentary exam for height and weight, blood pressure, and bloodwork to “know your numbers” and share with your primary care physician
  • Getaway to Good Health – Multi-year step challenge to promote physical activity
  • BCM BeWell Vitality point-earning physical activity
  • Quarterly BCM BeWell challenges
  • Real Appeal – telephone-based weight management coaching & digital platform offered by UHC
  • UHC/Optum’s Tobacco Cessation program
  • UHC’s Healthy Pregnancy program
  • WW (Weight Watchers) – special pricing
  • On-demand goal setting, webinars and education courses
  • Healthy Mind services through Baylor’s EAP program

Monica Williams and her husband join friends for a wellness activity.

Monica Williams, the director of health, welfare and compliance in human resources and an avid BCM BeWell participant, was excited about adding her spouse to the program.

“I was super excited when BCM BeWell incorporated spouses into the program. Since 2014, I have talked with my husband at length about what I did and how I earned points. He was ready to sign up immediately upon receiving his postcard mailing from BCM BeWell,” Williams said.

And, hey, what’s a little competition between spouses, especially when it has a positive outcome? In fact, in the recent survey of benefits-eligible employees conducted by BCM BeWell, family was listed as a motivating factor in living a healthy lifestyle.

“We are always in ‘friendly’ competition through physical activity and Vitality Squares,” Williams said. “Together we strive for awareness and improving our blood pressure, cholesterol and other numbers via the biometric screenings. We have always loved spending time together, and now being able to work in tandem under the BCM BeWell program toward a healthier lifestyle is rewarding to the both of us.”

Spousal participation in the program leads not just to health benefits, but financial benefits as well. BCM BeWell can help families reduce their medical premium costs by earning enough BCM BeWell Vitality points to qualify for the medical premium reduction. Learn more about the medical premium reduction. Vitality bucks, earned through point accumulation, also can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, Fitbit devices and more.

BCM BeWell has proven to have other benefits to the pocketbook as well. Participants who are highly engaged in the program have seen a reduction in their medical claims year over year since the launch of the program, according to BCM BeWell Director Jesse Gavin. This goes against the national trend toward an increase in household healthcare costs in recent years.

Even more important is that these engaged BCM BeWell participants have seen improvement in risk factors for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Highly engaged participants are those who reach Vitality gold or platinum status in a given year.

Since 2014, the BCM BeWell program has served as an important health and wellness resource for Baylor College of Medicine. Recognized as one of the nation’s leading wellness initiatives by Healthiest Employers LLC, the American Heart Association and the Houston Business Journal, BCM BeWell promotes a culture of health and wellness in the workplace using the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional/mental health, physical, financial, social, intellectual, environmental and spiritual wellness. BeWell offers onsite, offsite and virtual opportunities to participate in events, programs and workshops.

Learn more about BCM BeWell, and continue to stay engaged in the College’s wellness program:

Xiaodi Lin and her husband Rob focus on wellness together!

-By Dana Benson