Optimize Ventilation to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission Risk

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, Human Resources, News, Risk Management

By Toby Graham, KPA The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released new COVID-19 guidance on ventilation in the workplace. Employers should discuss options for optimizing building ventilation with an HVAC professional. Steps that can be taken include: Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic. Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another. Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible. Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible. Be sure exhaust air is …

Home for the Holidays: finding joy and meaning during the pandemic

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan As we enter the November and December holiday season, we remain amidst the ongoing, slow moving and ever-changing storm of COVID-19. Celebrating holidays that are rooted in tradition and history, mixed with personal meaning, can be disconcerting given our current situation. This can create heightened distress more so than any previous time. So, what can we do to help navigate the ongoing uncertainty and still find ways to embrace all this season has to offer? Tips for navigating and embracing this holiday season Acknowledge this year will be different: Express and own any normal frustrations. Admit the losses that are unique to you. Think of ways to safely …

Coping Strategies for Trying Times

Denise Gillin Health Benefits Administration, News

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan Thanksgiving is less than a two-week isolation period away, and the pandemic is worsening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new small household gathering considerations due to their contribution to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The holiday is going to be different this year, but don’t let pandemic fatigue get the best of you. Finding calm Holiday stress coupled with pandemic stress and the resulting uncertainty all contribute to rising anxiety. While natural and to be expected, we want calm in the midst of this uncertainty. Now more than ever it’s important to stay grounded in up-to-date factual information. Get news and facts from reliable …

Four Steps To Managing Mental Health at Your Organization

Denise Gillin Health Benefits

Shared from ZyWave by Matt Pfeiffenberger, Vice President, Health Benefits Solutions We are about to add holiday stress to a pandemic. Here are four steps you can take to establish a workplace environment that is supportive of mental health: Create a supportive foundation An organization that is dedicated to preserving employee mental health and fostering a stigma-free environment is one that will succeed in its efforts to support employee mental health. Make sure that any mental health initiatives are aligned with core values, goals and ethics. Focus on reducing stigma An organization that focuses its mental health initiatives and efforts on normalizing mental health discussions will see improvements in employee mental health. Consistently communicate to employees that getting help is …

Pennsylvania Launches New State-based Health Insurance Marketplace, Pennie

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News, Small Group Benefits (2-50)

Pennsylvania has launched a new state-based health insurance marketplace for 2021 coverage called Pennie. Pennie is responsible for operating the health insurance marketplace for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in accordance with federal and state law. Pennsylvanians can shop, apply, and enroll in health coverage on Pennie.com or click here to review the plan offerings. Pennsylvanians currently enrolled through Healthcare.gov will be transitioned to Pennie for their 2021 coverage. Pennie – same as the federal marketplace – is based on household income so some applicants may qualify for financial assistance that will lower their monthly premiums or their out-of-pocket expenses. Important Dates: Open Enrollment:  11/1/2020 – 1/15/2021 Last Date to apply for coverage that starts 1/1/2021: 12/15/2020 Last Date to apply …

Preserve Mental Wellbeing with these Online Schooling Resources

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News, Personal Lines

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan Due to the pandemic, many teachers are conducting classes remotely, and many families are navigating virtual learning. Parents, caregivers, and teachers are working together to support each other and their students. During this uncertain school year, how do we recognized the signs that a young person is struggling with their mental health? What resources are available to help overcome these new challenges? Two websites with resources that can help alleviate some of the online school day stress and assist with the mental wellbeing of students learning virtually are Mental Health America (MHA) of Lancaster County and the Department of Education and Liberal Arts at Ashford University. Both websites …

Coping with pandemic anxiety

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan The ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic is taking a toll on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of Americans. The National Institute for Health Care Management reports symptoms of anxiety have tripled from 8.1% to 25.5% from 2019 to 2020, and depression symptoms have almost quadrupled from 6.5% to 24.3% in that same time period. In late June, 2020, 75% of 18-to-24 year old respondents reported having at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom. Strategies of building resilience and engaging in self-care is of utmost importance to cope with the rise in anxiety and depression, particularly experienced during the last six to seven months. The big question …

Sober October: Alcohol Use and Abuse During the Pandemic

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News, Risk Management

By Josh Mountz, M.Ed, Prevention Specialist, Compass Mark This unprecedented time during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread social isolation and has caused a great deal of anxiety and stress.  This is especially true for people with alcohol use issues and those recovering from alcohol use disorders. According to a study published in “JAMA Psychiatry”, nearly one in eight Americans have an alcohol use disorder (Read more about the study at CNN.com).  The rate of drinking has only risen in the wake of the pandemic.  Compared to this time last year, online sales of alcohol have risen 243 percent. RAND Corporation, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, reports that Americans are dinking 14 percent more …

Dealing with employee stress due to the pandemic

Denise Gillin Health Benefits

Shared from ZyWave by Matt Pfeiffenberger, Vice President, Health Benefits Solutions Whether working from home or in the office, employees are experiencing stress due to the pandemic. It’s important to the well-being of employees that their stress is recognized, acknowledged, and guidance is provided. Following are some pointers employers can use to help employees manage stress as well as some coping mechanisms to share with employees. Guidance tips for employers While you can’t control the pandemic, you can help ease the stress your employees are feeling.  Following are some specific suggestions from HRInsights by ZyWave: Be open with employees about management decisions Provide as much information as possible Highlight employee benefits regarding relieving financial stress Encourage use of telemental health …

Telemedicine Gains Importance During Pandemic

Denise Gillin Health Benefits, News

Shared from ZyWave, Inc. by Matt Pfeiffenberger, Vice President, Health Benefits Solutions As the number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases rises daily, hospitals and medical care providers are overwhelmed with phone calls and in-person visits. Telemedicine and telehealth services are emerging as viable solutions to help lessen the burden on health care facilities and staff, while still providing individuals with the care they need. What is telemedicine? Telemedicine is a form of technology-based communication that allows you to connect and communicate with a doctor without being in the same physical space. How can telemedicine be beneficial in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? The symptoms of COVID-19 are close to the symptoms of the seasonal flu, cold, and allergies. As …