September 12, 2003

Health Plus to offer wellness credit

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by Wayne Wood

Beginning in January, full time, benefits eligible faculty and staff who have completed a Health Plus health risk assessment will get something besides good information about their current health status — they will get money.

A new program called Go for the Gold will provide, starting in January 2004, a $10 per month wellness credit (taxable) on the paycheck of each employee who completes a Health Plus health risk assessment between Dec. 1, 2002 and Nov. 30, 2003 — meaning there is still time for those who have not completed an assessment recently.

“This is a way to reward employees for healthy behaviors and help enhance a culture of wellness at Vanderbilt,” said Marilyn Holmes, manager of Health Plus, the Vanderbilt staff and faculty wellness program.

The health risk assessment is a questionnaire that an employee can complete online, and receive immediate feedback on areas of concern regarding an individual’s lifestyle practices.

“The assessment is the perfect tool to help employees to evaluate their current lifestyle, determine health risks, and decide where and how to make improvements,” she said. “It’s fast, free and completely confidential.”

The web address to complete a health risk assessment is

This $10 per month incentive for 2004 is called the Bronze Level.

Two additional levels will be phased in over the next two years, Holmes said.

• The Silver Level will be available in 2005. Employees can earn an additional $5 for meeting five or more of a list of 10 wellness categories, for a total of $15.00 per month.

• The Gold Level will be available in 2006. An employee who “goes for the Gold” can earn an additional $10 for meeting eight or more of the 10 wellness categories. So, when the program is fully in place in 2006, an employee can earn a $20 per month raise and will be at the Gold Level.

Staff members without web access are urged to take advantage of free access at Vanderbilt libraries, the Occupational Health Clinic or at a kiosk at the Health Plus facility in Memorial Gym.

Employees who can’t remember when they had their last health risk assessment may email Health Plus to find out at

For more information, visit Health Plus online at HRA/wellness/healthplus.htm.