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Healthiest Employers Inc. has named Samaritan Health Services as Oregon’s Healthiest Employer for the sixth time in seven years.

The award is based on a high level of employee participation in Samaritan’s wide array of initiatives aimed at improving the health and well-being of its workforce.

In the past year, 71 percent of Samaritan employees have participated in the organization’s employee wellness programs. Samaritan continues to expand these programs, including more offerings targeted toward employee well-being, on-site produce markets in each community and employee recognition programs.

“Engagement is the critical first step to achieving an individual’s health goals, and our employees can choose from a wide variety of one-time and ongoing activities,” said Doug Boysen, Samaritan president and CEO. “Their success stories are powerful, and they help fuel our long-term commitment to this important work.”

Each year, companies submit information about their programs to Healthiest Employers, Inc., an Indianapolis-based company that ranks employee wellness programs in six categories:

• Culture and leadership commitment

• Foundational components

• Strategic planning

• Communications and marketing

• Programming and interventions

• Reporting and analysis.

These rankings are part of the annual Healthiest Employer award program offered nationwide. The Portland Business Journal offers the Oregon program and announced the awards at a luncheon on Aug. 22 for employers who participated. Samaritan was named the healthiest employer of more than 5,000 employees.

In 2018, Samaritan invited all staff to take a Culture of Wellness survey. Results from that survey led the organization to expand several of its wellness initiatives, including:

• Increased duration and locations for on-site produce sales with local farmers and their produce, with payroll deduction available for purchases

• Financial wellness seminars on homebuying, debt consolidation, retirement planning, investments and budgeting

• Expanded fitness class offerings, health coaching and personal training through the four SamFit locations, as well as discounts for dependents at SamFit facilities

• Creation of an Employee Engagement committee which focuses efforts on staff recognition and helping employees enhance their professional and personal lives

• Shining Star recognition program for employees to nominate peers who they see demonstrating PRIDE

• On-site arts programming with music

Samaritan also integrates many aspects of its wellness initiatives with its Samaritan Choice insurance plan for employees and their families. This past year, employee claim data was imported into the Healthy Habits rewards program, leading to points earned for completion of annual physicals, flu shots and routine screenings. The incentive is supported with year-round communications that keep these important self-care reminders in the forefront. As a result, Samaritan Choice claims show an increase in preventive care, most notably in annual physical exams.

“We’re not only saving health care dollars,” said Alyssa Wink, director of Wellness and Fitness for Samaritan. “Our programs truly help change lives and enhance our mission of building healthier communities.”

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