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Tuesday November 14, 2023

Caring for the Caretakers: An Interview with MEDHOST Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Carla Stephenson

Even though our partner hospitals consistently set the national standard in community healthcare, fostering an internal culture of self-care that ensures their staff operates at the best of their abilities can sometimes be a challenge.

MEDHOST recently won the annual Cigna Well-Being Award, so we’re excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Carla Stephenson, MEDHOST’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources, to discuss how her team has fostered a culture of employee wellness and how these strategies can be adapted to enhance the fitness and well-being of any workforce.

MH: Thanks for joining us today. It's evident that you're deeply invested in promoting a wellness culture for our partners and within our own company. Can you tell us how this got started?

Carla: Absolutely! Our journey began around 10 years ago. In today's competitive landscape, employers are expected to lead in promoting healthy lifestyles and offering the necessary tools and support to their associates.

MH: For businesses looking to adopt similar initiatives, what are some prerequisites?

Carla: It's vital that such initiatives align with the core values of the company. At MEDHOST, for example, one of our three foundational pillars is people. This commitment to our human capital shapes our culture. Senior leadership's support is crucial; without it, such endeavors are bound to falter. It truly has to be ingrained in the company's DNA.

MH: Tell us about MEDHOST Cares.

Carla: A few years ago, we introduced MEDHOST Cares as the flagship for our wellness program. Under this banner, we cater to six wellness areas: social, emotional/mental, financial, environmental, professional, and physical well-being. Every year-end, our HR department reviews the activities, gauges their success, and then maps out a plan for the subsequent year, complete with activities, communication strategies, budgeting, and more.

MH: Cigna selected MEDHOST as a recipient of their annual Cigna Well-Being Award. Can you shed some light on that?

Carla: Certainly. It's a competitive award, and we’re proud to have it. Consideration covers various aspects of wellness, including cultural and leadership influences on wellness, foundational components, strategic planning, marketing, programming interventions, and reporting analytics.

MH: What are some standout features of MEDHOST's Wellness strategy?

Carla: We've implemented several initiatives:

  • Incentives for positive behaviors, such as preventive screenings.
  • Covering entry fees for marathons or sports leagues.
  • Annual reward programs for achievements in weight loss, healthy eating, and community volunteering.
  • Partnerships, like with Cigna's Wellness program, allowing associates to earn points for prizes.
  • Continuous educational campaigns on topics ranging from Retirement Wellness to healthy lifestyles.

MH: And finally, how does MEDHOST evaluate the return on investment for its Wellness strategy?

Carla: ROI can be gauged in multiple ways, including reduced turnover rates, enhanced employee tenure, cost savings in benefit renewals, and positive survey feedback. High engagement with our brand, especially on social media platforms, also provides valuable insights. But above all, we want our associates to enjoy their time at MEDHOST. Their happiness and well-being remain our utmost priority.

MH: Thank you for sharing such your insights. 

Carla: It's our pleasure. We believe that when our associates thrive, so does MEDHOST.

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