August 1, 2005
When employees of Financial Partners Credit Union, Downey, Calif., suffer from joint pain, they can head to a traditional doctor or visit an acupuncturist.
For back pain, employees can ask a physician to write a prescription or they can visit a chiropractor for an adjustment. Employees concerned about their girth can get free nutrition and weight-loss counseling.
More people are turning to alternative medicine, and Financial Partners is on the cutting edge in providing it as part of employees' health care. 'This is a great way to let our employees have choices,' says Diane Jarecki, vice president of human resources.
The credit union began offering alternative medicine options last November. It hopes these options will help keep healthcare costs down and employee work days up, Jarecki says. She also hopes they'll aid it in recruiting and retaining proficient employees.
Alternative healthcare options are free for full-time employees who sign up for medical coverage through American Specialty Health Plans; about 145 employees. The credit union is considering whether to provide these options to employees' families.
The weight loss and nutrition component has generated the most interest so far, Jarecki says.
A number of staff members use Weight Watchers and similar programs, but Jarecki believes once they know Financial Partners provides free weight-loss counseling, 'they will use it.'
In addition, employees enrolled in the benefit plan can use other discounts offered online, such as vitamins and exercise products.
Some employees have paid out of pocket for acupuncture and others are curious about the alternative therapy, Jarecki says. Once they receive more information about it, she thinks more employees will choose it instead of traditional remedies.
The move to alternative medicine is part of Financial Partners' proactive approach to helping employees, Jarecki says. Even the credit union's traditional major medical program emphasizes wellness, routine checkups, and other preventive measures.
The credit union also offers an assistance program in which employees and dependents can get referrals to child care, elder care, and counseling. The idea is to promote a work-life balance that makes for happy, productive employees, Jarecki says.
If employees are proactive about their health, there will be fewer hospital stays and less need for pain medication and surgeries.
For information, contact Lisa Porter at 949-216-9970.