January 15, 2021
AHIP Wellness SmartBrief
Wellness Programs & Trends
Dollar General is one of the first US companies to incentivize employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine; the retailer is offering four hours pay in exchange for getting the vaccine. However, the uncertainty over which workers are eligible to receive the vaccine, and when, in each state means "the confusion for the employer and the employee is significant" and can be a roadblock for manufacturers and retailers, said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/13) 
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Many employees will be skeptical or fearful of COVID-19 vaccines, and while employers can require vaccinations, they'll succeed more with strong, empathetic and clear communication that aligns with employee well-being, public health communications and company policies, writes Inspire PR Group founder Hinda Mitchell. "Going in with a 'vaccinate or else' message is sure to fail, while a well-crafted set of messages will build a favorable climate for future vaccination requirements," she writes.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (1/13) 
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Want to feel better? Climb a tree or hit the trail
Activities like tree-climbing and an exercise called hip-controlled articular rotations -- or hip cars -- are not only good for physical fitness and mindfulness, but research shows tree-climbing is associated with reduced fatigue and increased vitality, while hip cars are good for supporting lower-back health. Hiking can also improve mental well-being and helps reduce cortisol levels in the body.
Full Story: The Guardian (London) (registration required) (1/9) 
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Health News & Research
A study in the Annals of Family Medicine found that the adoption of inpatient mammogram screening at Massachusetts General Hospital led to the completion of mammograms in 17 of 21 eligible women, 35% of whom never had a prior mammogram, and others were four years behind their breast cancer screening schedule on average. "Completing preventive screening tests, such as mammograms, during hospitalizations can be one way to help patients who might otherwise miss preventive care," researcher Dr. Andrew Hwang said.
Full Story: Health Imaging online (1/13) 
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Two studies in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found US mortality rates for ischemic heart disease and hypertensive disorders have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, while global cardiac diagnostic testing decreased by 64% from March 2019 to April 2020. Researchers suggested the increase in cardiovascular-related deaths may be due to the pandemic's indirect effects on cardiovascular outcomes and health care system factors.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Cardiology Today (1/11) 
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The rate of cancer-related deaths in the US declined by 31% from 1991 to 2018, including a record 2.4% drop between 2017 and 2018, with 46% of the decrease in cancer mortality rates during the past half-decade attributed to reductions in lung cancer-related deaths, according to an American Cancer Society report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The COVID-19 pandemic's effect on declining cancer-related deaths will remain unclear for several years, though cancer care disruptions brought by the pandemic may prompt increased advanced-stage diagnoses that may hinder future reductions in cancer-related mortality prevalence, said lead researcher Rebecca Siegel.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/12) 
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Women who adhered to lifestyle habits related to weight control, diet, smoking, daily exercise and caffeine intake had a lower risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms, compared with those who did not follow the plan, according to a study led by Raaj S. Mehta, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The lifestyle changes may prevent up to 40% of the weekly GERD symptoms, researchers wrote.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/12) 
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Schools & Community
N.C. district brings meals to students' homes
(Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Burke County Public Schools in North Carolina received more than 700 orders for school meal deliveries this week -- up from 450 last week -- provided to students in the district learning from home. Child Nutrition Director Daniel Wall said in a statement that the goal is to offer continued access to school food, even if families are unable to pick up meals at school sites.
Full Story: The News Herald (Morganton, N.C.) (1/13) 
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A Catholic school in Ohio will offer telehealth services for students through a partnership with Health Partners of Western Ohio. Officials say the option is convenient for students, who can receive care on campus, and for parents, who do not need to leave work to take their child to a medical appointment.
Full Story: WLIO-TV/WOHL-CD (Lima, Ohio) (1/11) 
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Wellness Industry Developments
AHIP's Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum ONLINE was filled with important discussions about health care in a post-COVID-19 world. It's not too late to access the sessions and exhibits. If you registered/attended, use your registration to continue to log-in. Didn't register? Registration and access are open through Feb. 9.
Health insurance providers are committed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 - activating emergency plans to ensure Americans have access to the prevention, testing, and treatment needed. Learn how health insurance providers are protecting Americans and taking action.
Raise your status with AHIP's 40+ online courses. Delve into HSAs, health insurance basics, fundamentals, company operations, advanced studies, supplemental health insurance, and more. Created by industry experts, courses are available 24/7--so you can learn at your own pace, any time, any place. Take a single course or earn a professional designation. Enroll today!
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Jan. 18
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, AHIP Wellness SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 18. Publication will resume Wednesday, Jan. 20.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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