One of the first things we did in response to COVID-19 was pull together an infectious disease policy and make sure we had a plan for dealing with COVID-19 specifically. Because this was very new, our protocols had to flex as new and better information came to light. We identified a few trusted sources of information, including the CDC, who guided this effort. Beyond policies, our employees were directly informing our COVID-related programs.
My best advice to other employers is for them to, similarly, stay close to their employees and encourage dialogue around this topic via surveys, one-on-one meetings and stay interviews to discover what is important and valuable to them. This can help employers focus their efforts on policies and programs that have the greatest impact. For instance, among our other smaller efforts, we implemented a toilet paper distribution program and a $750 home-office stipend in response to needs expressed by employees.
To qualify for our wellness discount, employees must be signed up for our telemedicine app. So, fortunately, our employees already had telemedicine resources available to them for medical or behavioral health visits. Looking ahead, we’ve been very interested in exploring a more proactive approach to emotional wellness that starts with Day 1 orientation and continues throughout the employment relationship. I think that EAP services will need to become more comprehensive and include assessments, wellness coaching, periodic wellness checks and therapy as needed. Also, I think more employers are understanding the relationship between oral health and overall health, so I think we’ll see a continued focus on how taking care of your smile can improve your risk for or symptoms of other, more systemic diseases.
Testing can be an important part of an organization’s safety and wellness plan, especially if there is the potential for exposure in a shared work or office environment. We’ve looked at partnering with organizations who do mobile, on-site COVID-19 and antibody testing. For us, it made more sense to help employees find testing resources through their doctor or other testing locations because our workforce went remote pretty early. It’s all about providing a safe environment for employees. For us, the safest place for our employees was their homes.
As the state’s largest and most experienced dental insurer, we of course offer group and individual dental benefits. We’ve got some great resources on maintaining a healthy smile, webinars on a variety of oral health topics and even an oral wellness program that employers can use. And it may surprise some to learn we also offer vision coverage, FSA, HSA and COBRA administration.
VP of People and Organizational Development
Delta Dental of Arizona
Read the other “As Business Changes, So Will Our Healthcare” perspectives.