Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust honored

Chris Chrisanthopulos, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' director of municipal sales, center, presents a check to Arlene Miller, chair of Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust, while Amy Higgins, regional wellness coordinator, stands by.

Reminder Publications photo by Chris Maza

March 26, 2012

By Chris Maza

chrism@thereminder.com

WILBRAHAM — On March 22, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts recognized the Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust with its Municipal Blue Innovation Award.

The award is given to municipalities who have implemented health and wellness initiatives for its members, which, in turn, will help make health care more affordable and employees healthier.

Chris Chrisanthopulos, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' director of municipal sales, made the presentation of a plaque and a grant check of $5,000 to Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust Chair Arlene Miller, while congratulating the board of directors on the success of its wellness program.

"The wellness program started in 2008 and since then our main focus has been on preventative screening, including employee participation in stress management as well as weight management," Amy Higgins, regional wellness coordinator, told Reminder Publications.

Among the programs that have been initiated by the Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust are weight loss challenges, as well as incentive programs for those looking to quit smoking and for those who have colonoscopies.

"We get a lot of participation in the 'Biggest Loser' program every January; this year we had 118 people," Higgins said. "I think our big successes have also been in smoking cessation. We've had 33 percent of people actually stay quit over the course of the year, so that's something we also have been really happy about."

The trust also has a six-week strength-training program and an eight-week Healthy Choices 101 program, which encourages healthy behaviors such as limiting alcohol consumption and stress reduction techniques.

The trust also has created a Facebook page devoted to employee wellness.

Higgins said that one of the things that makes the trust's programs unique is the fact that it spans through several communities. The trust consists of Wilbraham, Hampden, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative and the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District.

"There are six municipalities represented by the trust and there are 4,000 employees in those six communities," she said. "I have been here since the wellness program started and this trust is fully committed in helping people get healthier."

State Rep. Angelo Puppolo also took the time to congratulate the members of the trust's Board of Directors.

"This is a great day for the Scantic Valley Regional Health Trust," he said. "To receive the Municipal Blue Innovation Award recognizes their dedication to improving the health of their employees through creative programs and this $5,000 grant will allow them to continue these successful initiatives. It also confirms Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts commitment to our area and their support of great organizations that concentrate on promoting health and well-being."

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