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Expert Interview

Tonya VyhlidalTonya Vyhlidal, M. Ed., CHPD - As wellness/life enhancement director for Lincoln Industries, Tonya is responsible foroccupational health and health promotion programs. Under her leadership, Lincoln Industries' wellness program is a two-time recipient of the WELCOA platinum award, a featured company in the 2007 Leading by Example via the Partnership for Prevention, selected as one of nine companies by the Centers for Disease Control for their SWAT project and is the recent recipient of the Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S. Department of Health Tonya is on the Lincoln Lancaster County WorkWell board of directors (Chair Elect – 09), CDC Worksite Obesity Prevention and Control panel, and WELCOA Medical Advisory Council, Lincoln in Motion Board. Tonya received her master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Nebraska –Lincoln.

Q: How did your organization come to include health and wellness in its set of beliefs?
Ms. Vyhlidal: There was an overview of company beliefs and drivers. We believe that Wellness is a business strategy and core to our culture and should be included in our belief statements.

Q: How might an employer who has not invested in a long-term plan begin to implement a strategy with a long-term vision?
Ms. Vyhlidal: Begin slowly. Start with assessing your population, health coverage, and associated cost's and company culture. Determine best initiatives to support the changes needed to guide the company.

Q: How is wellness attached to individual performance objectives and compensation?
Ms. Vyhlidal: Wellness is part of the individual development piece. For director level and above, 10–15% of an individual's performance objectives can be related to Wellness. For manager level and below, it usually consists of 5% of an employee's performance objectives.   

Q: Are employees measured against a standard set of objectives or individual-tailored objectives? How are those objectives set?
Ms. Vyhlidal: There are no standard set of objectives, objectives are set by the individual in their annual objectives at the beginning of each fiscal year.

Q: What are some of the incentives Lincoln Industries uses to encourage healthy lifestyles?
Ms. Vyhlidal: Lincoln uses a few types of incentives to help encourage healthy lifestyles. We offer Wellbucks, a cash incentive for program participation, paid tobacco cessation classes and support, 50% cost share for Weight Watchers at Work, health objectives as part of Performance Goals, and Healthy Lifestyle Reimbursements. Healthy Lifestyle Reimbursements are cash bonuses awarded for behavior change activity. This money is earned as you complete a behavior change program and is added to your health risk assessment (HRA) account as part of our health insurance plan.

Q: Does Lincoln Industries incorporate wellness programs with insurance benefit offerings? If so, how are the benefits structured to reinforce the messages of the wellness programs?
Ms. Vyhlidal: Yes, Benefits and Wellness are partnered. We have a Healthy Lifestyle Reimbursement as part of our Health Reimbursement Account. If employees participate in an HRA, they get $125 put into their fund allowance; the same applies for blood profiles, annual exams, and a behavior change module.

Q: What are some of the measures and outcomes Lincoln Industries uses to track progress and measure the success of its health promotion programs?
Ms. Vyhlidal: Some programs include annual health risk assessments, health insurance trends, overall biometric data (tracked twice a year), biannual scorecard review, workers compensation dollars spent, and wellness spending for health care use and expenses.

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The opinions expressed in these interviews are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or the U.S. Government.  The placement of these interviews on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website does not imply the endorsement of one particular organization, author, product, or service over another. 

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