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Sherri Murdaugh, Krystal Metzelthin, Stephanie O'Connor and Sally Brackett
SBJ photo by McKenzie Robinson
Sherri Murdaugh, Krystal Metzelthin, Stephanie O'Connor and Sally Brackett

2020 Health Care Champions Company Wellness Program of the Year: City Utilities of Springfield

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Between a free mobile mammogram bus, an on-site medical clinic and reimbursed fitness classes, a healthy staff – mentally and physically – is important to officials at City Utilities of Springfield.

Sherri Murdaugh, director of human resources at CU, says the company started the CU Well Program in 2015 for its more than 900 employees. A wellness committee with 15-20 staff volunteers put together innovative programs to positively impact the health of its employees and their families.

“We believe that the program has and will continue to prevent large claims,” says Murdaugh. “It is also a great morale booster and provides team building for employees.”

Murdaugh says savings for employees participating in the wellness program is difficult to quantify since efforts are focused on prevention. But from 2015 to 2020, she says the average annual cost of health care coverage was less than $10,000 per employee, significantly less than the Midwest and national average.

CU Well offers multiple health incentives, such as a health risk assessment. Murdaugh says this is the cornerstone of their wellness program. Employees, their spouses and dependents over the age of 18 who are enrolled in the CU health plan are offered an HRA each year. They were rescheduled to September from March this year due to COVID-19.

“HRAs provide an overall picture of your health,” says Murdaugh, “including cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure, body fat index, weight and stress level analysis.

CU also staffs two registered nurses, Krystal Metzelthin and Sally Brackett. At all 13 CU offices in Springfield, nurses can draw blood for a variety of lab work.

“This service provides significant savings to employees as well as the CU health plan,” says Murdaugh. “More importantly, it provides employees a convenient and cost-effective way to stay compliant with their health care needs.”

Murdaugh says the committee also encourages physical fitness. An annual reimbursement at a maximum $200 is given to full-time employees toward fitness centers, exercise classes, athletic shoes, a personal trainer or local registration fees for events. CU also provides on-site fitness classes and equipment to employees at all of its locations.

“Fitness classes, including yoga, abs class and Pilates are provided before and after work and during the lunch hour,” says Murdaugh.

She says if an employee takes advantage of the HRA incentives, wellness credits and various fitness reimbursements, they could save almost $1,000 a year.

However, with the pandemic still present in the Springfield area, many of the wellness program’s activities have been put on a momentary pause. Poker Walks and Brain Olympics, which are team-building activities, are postponed until further notice, she says.

“Our nurses have focused their wellness efforts on COVID-19,” says Murdaugh. “They educate employees on handwashing, mask use and social distancing.”

Going forward, the wellness program is offering a new incentive. Next year, employees will receive a credit to their premium if they complete an HRA or have a physical by their primary care physician or the nurse practitioner at the CU clinic.

“In 2022, we will provide an additional credit for being tobacco-free,” says Murdaugh.

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