Clarian Scales Back Employee Health Demands

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Instead of charging its employees for failing to quit smoking, lose weight or improve other health factors, Clarian Health Partners now will give them incentives to change bad health habits.

Beginning next year, Clarian had planned to charge employees $5 per paycheck-or $130 a year-if they smoked cigarettes and weren’t trying to quit.

The hospital system planned to assess similar fees in 2009 for employees who were obese or had high glucose, cholesterol or blood pressure, and who weren’t improving on those measures.

Now, in a policy change announced Aug. 31, Clarian will pay employees $5 per paycheck if they quit smoking. In 2009, it will offer similar incentives for those who improve the other four health factors.

Clarian said the change came after employee feedback, question-and-answer sessions conducted by human resources and a follow-up survey.

The program, announced in June, grabbed enough attention that NBC’s “Today” show had Clarian CEO Dan Evans on to discuss the program.

In a written statement on its Web site, Clarian said it “has remained committed to providing a health benefit plan that works for employees, empowers them to take control of their health, and provides the support mechanisms to make changes if they decide to do so.”

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