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Allegacy FCU heart health program saves $150K in employee costs
WINSTON SALEM, N.C. (7/29/14)--An investment into the health of its employees has allowed Allegacy FCU, Winston Salem, N.C., to shave $150,000 off of its heart-related health care costs over the past five years.

Spurred by the desire to help employees make healthier choices, and to rein in swelling health insurance costs, in 2009 the $1.1 billion-asset credit union launched AllHealth: a comprehensive program that educates and coaches employees on how to live a healthier lifestyle ( Triad Business Journal July 25).

Since implementation, the credit union has seen a 47% return on investment through declines in absenteeism and increases in productivity.

The program incorporates screenings that measure blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, while Allegacy's partner in the program, Novant Health, makes available a wellness coach who meets with employees on a regular basis to offer exercise, diet and fitness invites.

Further, the credit union sends out a weekly newsletter and hosts "lunch and learn" sessions as part of the educational component of the program, which can be crucial to its success, Garrick Throckmorton, Allegacy human resources manager for organizational development, told Triad Business Journal.

"Consistent education is the key to allowing someone to understand the change in lifestyle they need," Throckmorton said. "We ensure they are connecting back to the wellness coach on-site to be able to get the resources they need that are customized to their situation."

One employee told Triad Business Journal she lost 50 pounds through the program and reduced her blood pressure medication from three prescriptions to one.

"I've been battling high blood pressure for years," said Berlinda Little, a loan officer for Allegacy. "I knew I needed to do something to prevent it and control it."

The program, which enjoys a 96% employee participation rate, recently earned Allegacy the designation of 'Best in Class' by Triad Business Journal in its 'Healthiest Employers' awards program.

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