District Administration April 2017 - 45


The 3,000-student Slinger School
District in Wisconsin, took a different
approach to making health care accessible when it switched to a high deductible health insurance plan in 2013. That
same year the district began subscribing
to HealthiestYou, a telemedicine service
that connects users to physicians in a
remote location via a smartphone app to
diagnose and issue prescriptions, with no
appointment or co-pay required.
The service was heavily marketed in
the beginning as a way for employees to
save on their out-of-pocket costs, says
Superintendent Daren Sievers.
"We really bought the product so
employees wouldn't have to pay $200 to
$300 for (in-person doctor) visits," says
Sievers, who gave school-by-school presentations on the service that first year.
The marketing worked. In Slinger's first
year with HealthiestYou, 89 percent of
employees used it.
The move to the high-deductible plan
was an effort to save on rising premiums,
which had gone up as much as 17 percent in previous years. Now the district
pays $40,000 to offer HealthiestYou to all
of its 225 benefited employees, and the
district's health insurance premiums have
not increased. Sievers says those savings
go toward salary increases.
Healthy snacking, walking
Jill Turley, an employee wellness expert at
the Alliance for a Healthier Generation,
tells district leaders looking to start wellness programs to conduct an interest survey with employees with these questions
such as: What activities are they interested
in? What times are most convenient?
Then, develop programs that will
appeal to the majority. (If you already
have a wellness program but missed this
first step, it's not too late.) "Figure out
what's going to speak to them," Turley
says. "Small steps are always better, especially if we're wanting to motivate folks."
That may include serving healthier
snacks at staff meetings or starting an
www.DistrictAdministration.com

after-school walking club. Turley advises
against kicking off with a six-week challenge that may scare off some people.
Instead, appeal to their sense of community-a "we're all in this together"
model-and their responsibility to the
students, she adds.
"We all talk about our personal health

a lot," Turley says, "but that role model
piece can be a great motivator." DA
See "Telemedicine keeps students in class" on
p. 20 for more information.
Abby Spegman is a freelance writer based in
Washington.

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April 2017 45


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2017

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