Not too long ago, I wrote about some VC capital secured by RedBrick and some of the offerings associated with the programs.  There are links here to follow. With today’s announcement, it appears that Target is following the same course as many employers with incentives for better healthcare.image

One item in particular I am somewhat curious about is the tie in to electronic devices.  In the pilot program, are those participants who opt in to send their daily data through an iPhone going to see lower rates or just incentives for connecting up electronically, as mentioned in a past post, this does seem to be a little big brotherish to a degree when one might have to “prove” they are following instructions from a coach and I am guessing this would be a device or phone that beams the information back to the coaches at RedBrick. 

Wellness programs can be good and helpful, but does it cross lines with the care of their physicians at times?  Onsite clinics are always good for problems and to detect if the health issue needs to be elevated. Also, with the personal health records, will it also be available to send data to HealthVault or Google Health? 

“Redbrick’s methods for tracking employees’ commitment to these health plans are surprisingly detailed (though they may smack a bit of imageBig Brother). For example, it offers an iPhone application that records progress on a person’s walking exercises and beams the data back to Redbrick’s system. Pedometers and watches that do the same are also in the works, VentureWire reports. This might sound a tad invasive, but the company says that employers have the choice whether or not to make employees prove that they are following their custom health maps.”

The Health Coach/Insurance Company – Employer plan to uses devices and phones for employees to prove their physical activity

My reservations here is how much of this data is really needed and again if the information is not what is desired, how or will it work against you when it comes to insurance claims, a big issue that does not go away and being challenged from many areas, after all we all still want to be able to function like a human without being over ridden with alerts and being pulled in too many directions with advice on how to live healthy.  BD 

Press Release:

New wellness tools, information technology and innovative partnerships help promote prevention and support the health of our communities.

MINNEAPOLIS, May 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced two innovative partnerships and new wellness resources designed to support the company's increased focus on health and wellness. This announcement is part of the company's commitment to employees (called team members) and their families.

Target has partnered with RedBrick Health to pilot a wellness program that includes advocates who are available to assist team members with all things related to health. In addition, Target also announced today that it is a founding member of the Alliance to Make US Healthiest, a new coalition that strives to help U.S. citizens become more physically and emotionally healthy.

These partnerships are in addition to the company's wellness programs that focus on prevention and wellness resources, including:

  • Preventive care that covers 100 percent of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended care image
  • Access to a broad array of tools and resources available to all team members, some of which include:
    • A toll-free NurseLine open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help determine the appropriate level of care
    • A new Target Health & Wellness Web site which provides tools such as online health coaches, a personal health record, a health risk assessment, and information from leading industry experts on a variety of health topics
    • A variety of other resources including an Employee Assistance program, onsite clinics, discounts for many national fitness center memberships and discount Weight Watchers programs

Just as Target occupies a differentiated space in the retail industry, the company is providing innovative initiatives that will make it easier to get and stay healthy. Guests and team members can count on Target to find a better, simpler way for everything from fashion to household items to health care.

"We firmly believe that healthy team members create a more successful business and vibrant communities," said Jodee Kozlak, Target's executive vice president of human resources. "We want all team members and their families to focus on prevention--the key to access and affordability."

Target recently shared its principles for health and wellness with federal legislators:

1. Adopt specific and meaningful cost containment measures and offer choices that focus on prevention and wellness. Target believes that simply expanding access to the current system is not sustainable and will result in higher costs for everyone.

As a result, Target supports a national framework for health care that allows multi-state employers to offer consistent and uniform benefits in a cost-effective manner.

The company offers a wide variety of plans with different coverage and deductible levels so that team members can choose the best plan for themselves and their families. To attract and retain top talent, Target gathers team member feedback on benefit offerings, annually benchmarks its offerings with other retail and Fortune 100 companies to ensure plans and programs align with the external market and engages in dialogue with shareholders. Target also continuously looks for opportunities to improve how it invests in its team members' health and well-being.

For both Target team members and guests who shop at Target, Target Clinic(SM) provides high-quality, convenient and affordable health care services from a certified professional. Target Clinic's medical professionals can help test and treat:

  • Minor illnesses including allergies, bladder infections, colds and earaches
  • Minor injuries such as insect bites or minor burns
  • Skin treatment including acne, athlete's foot and other skin infections

The clinics also offer prevention and wellness tools including a variety of vaccinations such as the influenza vaccine; wellness tests and screening; camp and sports physicals; a smoking cessation program; free blood pressure checks; and more.

2. Target continues to provide comprehensive preventive care that meets or exceeds U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations. Target health care plans cover 100 percent of the USPSTF recommended preventive care, helping to control health issues which may turn into more serious diseases or conditions later in life. These services include well-baby care, immunizations, annual physicals, preventive labs, x-rays and cancer screenings.

In addition, Target offers a number of preventive care benefits that go beyond the USPSTF's recommendations, including covering mammograms at 100 percent for women over 35 and earlier if there is family history and recommending more comprehensive cholesterol screenings every five years after the age of 20. Further, Target supports successful preventive care programs such as seasonal flu immunizations at most locations, an automatic prescription refill program that supports patient compliance with health regimens, and its ClearRx prescription drug packaging with easy-to-read labels and color-coded rings personalized for each family member to reduce medication errors. Target also provides discounts for various wellness programs including Weight Watchers(R) and many national fitness center memberships. In addition, REDHealth, Target's internal health and wellness magazine, provides team members with tips and resources on fitness, nutrition and mental health.

Target's pilot wellness program, developed in partnership with RedBrick Health, was designed to ensure team members get the most out of the health and wellness programs offered through Target. Health advocates are available to support pilot program participants with any issue related to health, including benefits and associated claims, identification of the appropriate medical care, health coaching and use of online tools to get and stay healthy. Target also provides cash incentives for eligible pilot program participants who complete biometric screenings, health assessment questionnaires, preventive care visits and, if necessary, recommended coaching programs that are intended to help team members reach their personal health goals. Target is one of the first employers to pilot such an innovative program with RedBrick Health.

Target is also planning to pilot a comprehensive online tool, called MD Health Evolution, as part of a greater initiative in 2009 to further help team members get and stay healthy. The easy-to-use educational tool will be free for pilot team members (plus one friend) and is designed to assist them in assessing their current health, learning how to improve their fitness and nutritional habits, and tracking their progress.

3. Develop information technology tools and resources that encourage transparency and lower cost. Target believes that technology, such as electronic personal health records, can help drive greater transparency within the health care system, ensure standardization and reduce misdiagnosis. Technology also allows for better education and incentives to help individuals engage in their health care decisions and use their benefit dollars wisely.

In addition to the 24-hour, 365-day NurseLine, team members and their families also have access to a new Target Health & Wellness Web site which provides tools such as online health coaches, a personal health record, a health risk assessment, and information from leading industry experts on a variety of health topics.

4. Share responsibility. Target believes that public and private partnerships are crucial to improve the health of our communities. The commitment by large employers and all sectors of society to continue providing voluntary coverage is contingent on legislation that contains rising costs, improves efficiency and value and increases overall quality with prevention and wellness as a priority.

That's why Target supports the vision of the Alliance to Make US Healthiest to create a national movement that promotes individual health and well-being throughout local communities.

Additionally, Target partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create important, relevant health messages and also collaborates with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy in a "Health and Employment Forum" to discuss opportunities and best practices in creating accessible services to improve the health and wellness of all team members.

"It is vital for corporations to take an active role in the shaping of health legislation on behalf of their employees," said Dr. James Nicholson Baird, Jr., a member of the Advisory Committee to the CDC and chief executive officer of the Alliance to Make US Healthiest. "Target has had a long and successful partnership with the CDC and was a founding member of the Alliance. Companies like Target, that make team member health a core business strategy, are more successful and contribute to a stronger and healthier nation."

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,699 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946, the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.

Target Corporation Makes Getting and Staying Healthy Easier

Related Reading:

Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits ,Wellness Programs, and Devices? How Potentially Intrusive and Disruptive Will It Get to Save Money?

The Health Coach/Insurance Company – Employer plan to uses devices and phones for employees to prove their physical activity

Employers in search of ways to help keep health insurance costs low – How far will it go?
More Employers Turn to Disease Management
Excessive Incentives and Rules – Where Did the Wisdom Go in HealthCare?
The Human Audit Trail to automatically track your fitness and sleep and a few other things…
The Wellness Programs: Payouts to Those Who Work Out - Insurers give discounts on premiums
Employers get tough on health**


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