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Arkansas wellness director wins construction risk management award

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LAS VEGAS -- Jayme Mayo, physician assistant/wellness director for Nabholz Construction Corp., has won the Gary E. Bird Horizon Award for her company's wellness program.

The award recognizes innovation in construction risk management and is named for Mr. Bird, a nationally known risk management expert who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

Ms. Mayo was recognized for developing and implementing a multilayer wellness program that has saved the Conway, Arkansas-based company an estimated $1 million per year since a major transition in 2010, she said while accepting the award at the International Risk Management Institute's Construction Risk conference in Las Vegas Monday.

The program launched in 2007 to contain the company's escalating health care costs, Ms. Mayo said. “We had to get our arms around this beast of health insurance,” she said.

In 2010, it shifted from an outsourced, activity-based effort to a results-based incentive program focused on the top five drivers of the company's health insurance claims: cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, obesity and nicotine use, Ms. Mayo said.

“We started gaining momentum,” she said.

Employees and their spouses — added to the program in 2012 — covered under the health insurance plan are screened annually, through formal in-house testing or with their own physician and dentist, the company stated. At the end of the year, 99% of covered employees and spouses receive a monetary incentive based on their results, according to the company. The incentives include monthly gift card drawings for employees and spouses and an annual allowance to help cover the costs of work boots, nicotine cessation aids, running/walking shoes and gym memberships, according to the company.

Health insurance rates for the company, which has more than 900 employees, fell 4.5% last year, Ms. Mayo said.

Contributing to the program's success are “incredible” executive-level support, a “very simple” plan that holds people accountable and a full-time wellness team consisting of a doctor, physician assistant, bilingual dietitian, personal trainer and medical assistant, Ms. Mayo said. The company also established fitness rooms with 24/7 access and on-site or near-site medical clinics, Ms. Mayo said.

The employees appreciate the wellness program, she said, which “helps with retention and with recruiting in this industry.”