Written by Phil Cerroni
In 2009, Irving launched a one-of-a-kind health care program called Irving Wellness Incentive Now (I Win). Four years later, Irving employees have shed nearly 4,000 pounds and more than half the employee population participates. The incentive-based program encourages employees to take charge of their health. By doing so, they can earn points through physical fitness or biometric testing. The points staff earns can result in up to $150 a month extra and additional days off.
“When I took my first biometric test, they told me to go to my doctor—as it turns out, I was diabetic. I probably would have figured it out after a while, but I don’t have any problems now, and I’ve lost 115 pounds,” said Code Enforcement Inspector Joseph Soto. “The I Win program gives you incentives, opportunities to learn how to be healthy and helps you monitor your health.”
Employees earn wellness points by participating in annual biometric testing to measure blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride level, body fat, glucose and other health indicators. Points also are earned by exercising, participating in philanthropic walks and fun-runs, and attending city-sponsored wellness forums on a variety of topics.
“The I Win program helps city employees plan for a healthier future,” said Irving City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “The bottom line is we have healthier employees who are earning up to $150 more a month while we also are saving taxpayers $25 million over the next 25 years in cost containment.”
The City of Irving also has garnered national recognition for its one-of-a-kind wellness program including the American Heart Association Platinum Award, and Irving was the only city to be recognized as one of the Dallas Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers in North Texas in 2012.
“In the beginning it was about the money and getting the extra day off but after seeing the difference in my health, I have a healthy feeling that has encouraged me to maintain my weight and the healthy feeling I have now, I don’t want to let it go,” said Soto.
Source: City of Irving