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VEHI is a large nonprofit purchaser of health care plans for Vermont school employees. A self-funded, fully insured purchasing trust, VEHI is co-managed by the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust (VSBIT) and the Vermont—National Education Association (V-NEA).
VEHI currently purchases plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. As a voluntary purchasing alliance, VEHI plays an active role in all areas of health plan delivery: design, financing, marketing, risk management, health promotion, consumer education, and customer service. VEHI currently licenses its wellness programs from VSBIT and from PATH, LLC.
VEHI PATHpoints is a Vermont school employee wellness program designed to help improve the health of our VEHI customers.
VEHI PATHpoints is a win-win situation for everyone involved:
All eligible employees who enroll in VEHI PATHpoints may earn points throughout the school year. Points will equal dollars and participants will be eligible to receive up to 150 points or $150 per year. Checks will be mailed in the fall to participant’s home addresses. As new components are developed, this information will be distributed to all school employee wellness leaders and be listed on the tomypath.com website. Blue Cross/Blue Shield subscribers will receive PATHpoints informational materials throughout the year at their home address.
School and District Health and Safety Funding Requests and Approvals
Each school’s Employee Wellness Leader and team members are responsible for preparing an annual action plan listing specific and measurable objectives to support and improve upon employee health and safety practices. If any of the action plan steps require funding, this information should be included on the VSBIT budget justification form. VSBIT employees will evaluate all funding requests in February 2011. VSBIT recommends any funding requests align with those staff, programs, services and equipment listed in VEHI’s Best Practices in Employee Health Promotion Program Guide.
VSBIT will notify all schools of the funding request results in late March 2011 and forward awarded funds in early May 2011 Yearly action plans must be approved by the school administrator and then submitted to the VSBIT office using VSBIT’s forms on the website by January 31st, 2011.
What does VEHI get? Healthier, consumer-confident, satisfied, and well-cared-for members.
The VEHI health trust belongs to us all. Our health insurance rates are based solely on our own health insurance claims history: the fewer the claims, the lower the rates. The lower the rates, the more money there is for other employee benefits such as increased salary, more professional days, and more resources.
Because we're all in it together, it's up to us to help each other live and strive for the best lives possible, at work and at play. Those of us who do participate ought to benefit financially from our efforts. VEHI PATH is here to help pull us together under one great set of services with a powerful support team. We're here to help you become or stay at your best, for your own quality of life, for the students and families you serve, and for the future of the VEHI Trust.
VEHI is funding PATHpoints through the health trust. We are not adding to the cost of health insurance premiums but rather using "reserves" to fund the program initially. By investing in prevention (wellness and health promotion), we expect to save costs over time. We'll be able to recoup the initial investment, and we'll also be able to have a positive effect on future health care cost trends.
One VEHI PATHpoint = one dollar.
Currently, you can earn up to 150 PATHpoints. Checks will only be awarded in $50, $100 and $150 increments, because we only have one accountant for more than 20,000 people. So, be sure to earn those last few PATHpoints so you qualify for the largest check possible!
No. The VEHI PATHpoints initiative has no out-of-pocket expenses, either for staff or for the District/SU.
However, VEHI PATHpoints is not literally "free." The program is funded through investments from VEHI, investments in your health and our future. VEHI is a health trust that is member-owned. Essentially you, as a member of a VEHI school/organization, are paying for the program out of the VEHI trust. It's an investment that we're making together to provide better services and to be able to lower health care costs over time. VEHI PATHpoints is also an innovative opportunity to reward Districts/SU's and individuals financially for working hard at living healthier lives.
For 20 years PATH has used an honor system. In some cases, we'll know what you're doing based on reports and the type of programming offered. We do watch carefully to be sure overtly false information isn’t being entered. We contact those who appear to be in error. In the case of programs such as the PATH Adventure, we trust that you'll record your progress accurately. We've always operated under the assumption that people are good. Especially people in education!
Statistically we’ve experienced that people really are honest. About 2% of you will skirt the rules and mess with the system. We refuse to penalize the remaining 98% who are honest by imparting stringent barriers to participation. Police each other by being stellar role models. Police yourself through your conscience. Hasn’t health care suffered enough from extraneous costs? If you participate with true fervor and give it your all, health improvements will happen and the investment we made in you will be completely worthwhile. In most cases the health improvements of those who do participate in full will make up for those who cheat.
The annual PATH Adventure, the Peer Coaching Course, professional Health Coaching, tracking progress in the PATH Community, the annual Healthy Life Survey, and the PATH Calendar Puzzlers all allow you to earn PATHpoints. Anyone can participate in any of these programs and benefit – fit or unfit.
Right now, if you're exercising but you're not participating in PATH, you're missing the opportunity to earn rewards for being healthy! If you are healthy and your friend isn't, you each pay the same insurance premiums. If, however, you enroll in PATH, you get PATHpoints and can earn money for what you already do so well.
We also believe that every person has at least one aspect of his or her health or lifestyle he or she would like to change. This is the perfect opportunity to enroll in a Peer Coaching Course and mentor a buddy toward a health goal (or any goal, for that matter), while you are being mentored as well.
Finally, we'll keep adding opportunities for everyone, regardless of her or his current health status, to achieve the maximum number of PATHpoints each year. We're happy to hear your ideas.
PATHpoint checks will be issued before the end of September of each year. Checks are made out to you and sent to the address you entered on your PATH account under “My Profile” (that's why we ask for your address on the enrollment form).
Be sure your mailing address and points total are correct on your online account by July 15th at midnight. To be clear: You can earn points until June 30th but you can correct your address until July 15th. If your account points appear to be wrong online, you have until July 15th to contact us and work out the discrepancy. After July 15 we close the points year and begin to calculate checks based on the data you’ve provided in your account. It takes us a fair amount of time and accounting to get over 10,000 checks out to everyone, so we thank you for your patience.
In its first two years, VEHI PATHpoints was a pilot program, counting on you to help us learn what works best. Some districts and supervisory unions parceled the money out by school building. Some gave bonuses to those buildings with high participation. Some districts chose not to parcel out the money. In all cases, the most important lessons were as follows:
Use of the funds MUST be evidence-based, inclusive of all employees, and have a measureable impact on the worksite environment and culture in order to make a difference.
Key Point No. 1: As a nonprofit health insurance trust, and as regional groups who work hard for the sake of education, remember that we're all in this together. The more we can integrate wellness into every aspect of what we do — personally, professionally, locally, and globally — the better off we'll all be and the more reasonable health care costs become.
Key Point No. 2: VEHI premiums are funded by taxpayer dollars. If we can’t look the taxpayer in the eye and feel proud of how we spent these health care dollars, we’re funding the wrong programs/initiatives. It’s up to us and good science to make the case that the wellness programs we fund provide the best possible outcomes in today’s world.
No. But we'll be happy to give you credit for your exercise if you participate in the PATH Adventure and/or Keeping Fit, and track your progress. It's easy and it costs you nothing. Then use the check you receive at the end of the year to help fund your personal wellness efforts, such as a gym membership, massages, acupuncture, personal fitness equipment or gear.
All employees in your building are eligible to get PATHpoints and cash—insured or not. You must be recognized by your District as an employee and appear on a verification of employment list that the District VEHI PATHpoints Wellness Leader sends us before we issue checks each year. You can imagine that we must verify that you actually work for the District and impact the culture of that workplace most days of the week. If you are not on that list, it is up to you to negotiate that with your District office through your VEHI PATHpoints Wellness Leader. We will always defer to the District’s opinion on your employment status.
VEHI sets a precedent that those employees who are eligible for employee benefits are eligible to participate.
In some cases, people who work in the district buildings/schools may be under contract by a separate organization (e.g. bus drivers, food service, social workers, etc). It’s okay by VEHI that you participate BUT you MUST get approval from your District and be sure that you are added to their verification of employment list. Otherwise VEHI has no idea that you work for the District. VEHI cannot be held responsible if your name is not on the list.
One More Exception: if you are not covered by the VEHI Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) health plan, you won't be able to get Blue Health Solutions services. However, all other VEHI PATHpoints services are available to you.
Bottom Line: Our goal is to affect the culture and climate of the building in which you work. Since you spend a great deal of time there, we want your workplace to be one of the healthiest places on earth! Since everyone contributes to that climate and to the cultural norms related to health, everyone is eligible to participate in VEHI PATHpoints. When we're successful creating a healthier culture, we'll consider extending this benefit to family members.
Sorry, not at this time. Right now our focus is on the worksite. We're putting all our resources into improving health there. If we are successful, we'll extend the program to families. Family members (anyone who lives under your roof) are eligible to participate in our EAP services. However, they will not be able to earn VEHI PATHpoints or cash. Also, if you are insured by the VEHI BCBSVT health plan, your family members can participate in any of the BCBSVT disease and case management services. However, they will not be able to earn VEHI PATHpoints or cash.
One Exception: Retirees in the Vermont State Retired Teachers System can participate with their dependent spouses.
Our staff is very small, yet our membership is very large! We have 20,000+ members in the trust and we cover roughly 40,000 lives. Having a central place to keep all data is the only way a program of this size can be managed, given staffing and budget constraints. In some cases, we can provide paper versions of a few of our programs, but points will not apply. We also have VEHI Wellness Leaders at the building level, as well as "PATH Coordinators" or volunteers at each location, to help you access the Web. Many school worksites have technical support for the Web. If you aren't already up to Web speed, now would be a great time to learn — for more reasons than just PATH. The US Dept of Labor states that all jobs will require us to interface with a computer by 2020.
If you need free access to a good computer, don’t forget about your local public library or the library at you local school, or in some cases your local community college.
When you enrolled (first created your account), you chose a Username and Password and you answered some security questions to help you remember your password should you forget it. Simply click on the "Forgot your password?" link, answer the security questions exactly as you originally typed them, and you’ll be taken to a “New Password” entry page. Careful! Some people mistake this page as a “failed log-in” page. Read each page carefully to be sure you follow instructions properly.
When you were enrolled (when someone created your account), you should have gotten an email confirmation from PATH that included your Username and a temporary default password. The first time you log in, you'll be asked to change your password to something more secure. If you didn't get an email, or if you lost it, use the “Contact Us” link on the PATH log-in page.
Because this is a wellness program, your account contains protected health information that only YOU should be able to see. To keep your account secure, we require an extra code beyond your password. In this case we require these 4 digits because they will be easy for you to recall and difficult for outsiders to figure out. We use the 4-digit number and the security question to help retrieve your password information without sending you an email. This is the most secure means of online password recall available.
If you get a screen that tells you a username or password is taken, you are on the enrollment page and you are creating a new account. STOP! If you know you already have an account, setting up a new account may keep you from seeing points you’ve already earned, and from participating in certain programs for which you’ve already registered.
DO NOT create a new account once you already have one. Instead, use the “Contact Us” link or call PATH. We will help you access your existing account.
Only PATH health professionals can view your information. This includes our health promotion staff, our Information Technology team, our partner health coaches and nurses who are licensed, HIPAA-compliant clinical health care professionals. No one else may see your information without your written consent. For your safety, DO NOT provide others with your security codes to the website.
Absolutely not! Your employer will know only that some employees in your school/organization have participated in the program. The employer will NOT know who participated, or how many PATHpoints individuals earned, or any other identifiable personal health information. HIPAA law states that, without your written consent, your employer cannot know any information that personally identifies you with your health status.
Your district VEHI Champion and/or local building Wellness Leaders will know that you have a PATH account but will not know what you’ve done with that account, the points you’ve earned, or any of the data in your account. The only reason they need to know you’ve got an account is to verify to us that you really do exist and are a valid employee of your employer group.
Absolutely NOT! Neither your employer nor your health plan can use wellness program data to change your access to your benefits or change the quality of your benefits. HIPAA exists, in part, to end such punitive behavior by employers or by health plans. However, HIPAA also recognizes the need to provide tailored health promotion programs. A section of the law, titled "Bona Fide Wellness Programs," allows health care professionals to share information that will bring you the best services possible for your personal needs. Your health status and your participation in wellness programs, will not, in any way, affect your benefits other than to provide you with your cash incentive for your participation.
First, we provide you with a personalized report and a set of recommendations that are specific to your personal health status.
Second, in some cases, if you meet the criteria for extended services, we use your results to refer you to a tailored one-on-one nurse case manager and/or a lifestyle coaching program. When you receive a telephone call from either program, you have the option to decline these services. If that's your choice, then communication will end immediately. If you choose to benefit from these excellent professional services, you can earn VEHI PATHpoints.
Third, we compile group reports on the data for your school districts. These reports are anonymous. They allow us to show cause for important wellness services in your area. For example, if 80% of the people in your school district say they aren't eating enough fruits and veggies, we'll help your district run a strong 5-A-Day fruits and vegetables campaign.
Finally, when you return to VEHI PATHpoints from year to year, we'll use the data to show you how you've improved over time. We will use the aggregate data to show how your group has improved, too. We can then be sure that the services we're providing are doing their job—helping you to get healthier or to stay well!
Our PATH database is stored on a dedicated server that is owned solely by PATH and is maintained by a HIPAA-qualified hosting team. No one else has access to the database and the security standards meet HIPAA requirements. Our web development and hosting team have signed a privacy agreement (a BAA) that matches the agreement signed by your health plan which is intended to protect your personal health information to the highest degree. The PATH servers are protected with extreme firewalls and require biometric matching to physically enter the room.
HIPAA does not allow us as health care providers to sell your protected, personal health information (PHI). PHI includes anything that can identify you in any way. For example, your address and name is PHI because it connects you personally to a specific address. We could tell anyone that there is a Jane Smith who lives in Vermont. We can't tell anyone that Jane Smith's address or phone or email is XYZ. Our partners are obligated to the same standards and cannot use your PHI for any reason other than to serve you within the bounds of this program, as agreed upon by all parties.
We pay qualified, clinical health coaches, nurses, and our EAP partner for their professional health care services. They will only do what we pay for and ask them to do as health care providers. The information we provide them is used only so that they can do the job we asked of them — the job of helping you be your best (as defined by you and you alone).
Clinically speaking, most people don't reach out for help when it comes to medical conditions. That's why BCBSVT and VEHI reach out first.
Every time you go to the doctor, she or he sends BCBSVT a coded claim. The same process occurs whenever you purchase a prescription drug. Once a month, BCBSVT looks at these codes and singles out people who have seen the doctor or who have purchased medication and appear to be dealing with some difficulty.
Any visit to a health care provider or any purchase of a medication related to certain circumstances or conditions will alert BCBSVT to send your information to their nurse case managers. The nurses then contact you to see if they can help you manage your condition. You can opt out of the program when the nurse telephones you.
The goal is to help you, not to irritate you, not to cause you concern, and not to invade your privacy. In most cases, your nurse case manager will send you materials and offer you access to their helpful online tools. In some cases, your nurse will work with you during several telephone calls, to help you get the best treatment and care possible.
The nurses in the program work for BCBSVT either directly, or with their disease management partner, Healthways. Healthways is a third-party administrator (exactly like a pharmacy, dental, or vision provider) to BCBSVT. Healthways is held to the same privacy standards to which BCBSVT ascribes. Their nurses are all licensed and registered.
VEHI PATH partners with Progress Health Coaching. The coaches are clinical health care professionals who have received graduate degrees in the health sciences. They are also top level certified in Intrinsic Coaching with multi-layered and ample experience. They engage in monthly supervision and case review as a team and they partake in professional development updates often. Each specialist contributes to the group, so you can benefit from a greater depth of services. To be qualified, coaches are required to participate in extensive training programs beyond their graduate degrees. They have incredible tools available, including the software they use to manage the coaching process.
Our health coaches are fluent in all forms of behavior-change theory, including "readiness to change," social change theory, and motivational interviewing. Their main focus and depth of clinical training, however, is in Intrinsic Coaching which is considered the best practice standard in public health today.
First you’ll need to take the PATH Healthy Life Survey between October and the end of February. If your results show that you have certain risk factors that you’d like to address, you can follow the link to request a coach. The coaching program will contact you via email or phone (as per your request) to set up your first coaching session.
You can usually finish the Survey in 15-20 minutes, in one sitting. However, the Survey is designed so that you can click "save" at any time on any section (the "save" button is at the bottom of each section). Come back later and add to or change your answers, until the deadline. Your answers are not final until you hit the final "Submit" button on the Survey's home page (it's in a big blue box at the bottom right of the screen below the five Survey sections). Remember to “submit” before the deadline of February 28!
No. It's all a buffet table. Get PATHpoints on any of the given services. The only program you can't do without the Survey is health coaching. Once you have submitted your survey, don’t forget to fill out the Coaching request form to receive these services.
You can use your results to make lasting lifestyle changes. You have a number of resources to help you. Resources will often be listed on your PATH Dashboard when you log in to www.tomypath.com/vehi. Your VEHI PATH program includes access to the following professionals: peer coaches, health coaches, EAP counselors (1-800-287-2173), 24-hour nurse advisors, and nurse case managers.
Sign up for coaching by clicking the “Progress” link on the survey home page (once you’ve submitted your results) and request a session. Tackle any health issue you discover in your Healthy Life Survey results.
Take your results to your primary health care provider and talk about ways to improve your health — and celebrate the successes.
Share your results with trusted family or friends. Celebrate successes and talk with friends about your goals to improve for next year. Find a buddy who would be willing to take the Peer Coaching Course with you. Or check out the VEHI PATH Movie for inspiration on getting healthier.
YES! Each year we renew and refresh the Adventures giving them a great new feel and new excitement. No two Adventures are the same. The year 2011 marks our 20th anniversary!
NO! Having a PATH account means you’re participating in PATHpoints and potentially earning points for lots of different VEHI PATH programs.
The annual PATH Adventure is a very specific program that offers you lots of tools. We need to know you want to do the Adventure ahead of time so that we order enough materials, gifts, prizes and so on.
PLEASE “Register” for each annual Adventure simply by clicking on the Adventure Icon on your dashboard during the registration period (November - December). One screen will ask you for your registration gift choice and may provide you with the option to purchase extra gear. If you didn’t choose a gift (e.g. a T-shirt size, or hat, or pedometer, etc.) or check the box stating that you don’t want a gift, then you never registered. It’s a 3-screen process – very quick. Submit your registration and wait for the Adventure to begin.
REMEMBER, if you don’t “Register” for the Adventure, we won’t know that you are playing and we won’t know to send you materials (including the great free gifts available).
You must record progress entries that correspond to each week of the Adventure. If you record one grand entry for all your work, you’ll only get credit for the week in which you made that entry. Please be sure to date your entries according to the day you actually did them. This makes sense because we don’t want anyone doing all 500 miles of the advanced loop in one week. Stay safe and accurate by recording some form of progress for each week, clearly typing in a date that corresponds to that specific week.
You also will need to fill out the final participant Ending Survey to tell us how it went for you. This survey appears at the top of the Adventure home during week 10 and will stay live through June 30th.
Don’t forget that you can edit you entries under “Progress Log.” For the PATH Adventure 2011 — Thirty Winks — the key dates are as follows:
Registration Begins: 11/1/2010
Registration Closed: 12/17/2010
Week 1 1/31 - 2/6/2011
Week 2 2/7 - 2/13
Week 3 2/14 - 2/20
Week 4 2/21 - 2/27
Week 5 2/28 - 3/6
Week 6 3/7 - 3/13
Week 7 3/14 - 3/20
Week 8 3/21 - 3/27
Week 9 3/28 - 4/3
Week 10 4/4 - 4/10 (Ending Survey Opens beginning of the week)
To get the full 50 points for the Adventure, record at least one entry per week and fill out the final Ending Survey by June 30, 2011.
To be sure you have all the PATHpoints recorded properly, go to your Points History on your dashboard — a link in a box on the upper right near your points total.
It takes no more than 5 minutes to fill out and tells us a great deal about how successful the program was. It also tells us how to change the program for the future to please our members. Finally, it tells us that you’ve really finished the program and fully engaged. Without your feedback, we’re creating programs in the dark. You have until June 30 to fill it out and it only takes 5 minutes. And… You get 10 PATHpoints for doing so!
You must record Strength workouts as well as your cardio exercise in order to progress on the map. Each stop along the map tells you how many steps you need as well as the number of Strength workouts you must record to move along the map. Mouse over the stops to see what is required. Then look to see if you meet those requirements.