Beginning Oct. 15, investing 20 minutes of your time could lead to a healthier lifestyle and put a little extra cash in your pocket, too.
The new “Be in the Know” wellness incentive program, operated by the Division of Human Resources (HR), was created to help Penn staff and faculty learn their key health biometrics—blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
From Monday, Oct. 15, through Thursday, Nov. 8, health-screening technicians from AreUFit will be at 18 locations across campus to perform free and confidential biometric screenings. The screenings consist of a finger stick for a blood sample, a blood pressure reading with a traditional cuff, and an individual counseling session. For your time, you’ll earn $75 (less applicable taxes) and the chance to win an iPad. All full- and part-time benefits-eligible faculty and staff are qualified to participate.
“Penn wants to create a culture of health,” says Susan Sproat, executive director of benefits in HR. “We already have the best and most talented faculty and staff, and we want to keep them performing well.”
Marilyn Kraut, director of HR’s Quality of Worklife program, says the wellness program is based on solid research, and the screenings are focused on health biometrics that faculty and staff can address with their doctor, if necessary.
“All three levels of concern—blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose—are symptom-free but have a huge impact on future health,” Kraut says. “We expect that many of our faculty and staff will be in good health, but some may have health issues and not know about it.”
Knowing your biometric numbers will help you establish a health “starting point” and give you ideas on how to maintain or improve your health status.
Employees who have already undergone a biometric screening since April 1 can get the information from their doctor and submit a form (available on the HR website) to the screening vendor to receive credit for participating in the program.
All information obtained at the screening will be kept confidential by AreUFit, an outside vendor that has conducted the screenings at Penn’s Open Enrollment Fair for the past 16 years.
Kraut says faculty and staff will leave the screening with their results, identified only by their Penn ID numbers. “The results will never be transferred to your healthcare insurer or sent to Human Resources in any identifiable form,” she says. “We will only see aggregated results for everyone who participated in the program.”
Employees must register online and choose a screening session that is convenient to their schedule and location. Both Kraut and Sproat suggest coming in the middle of the appointment hour to avoid long lines.
“We want it to be big,” Sproat says. “We hope for thousands of participants.”