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Have health info, will travel

Health Plan office hosts Health Fair for Pastoral Center employees

MIAMI | A finger prick yielded a wealth of information for Pastoral Center employees during the annual Health Fair put on by the Health Plan office.

Staff from Health Designs used the blood sample to gauge employees’ cholesterol levels. They also measured their blood pressure and reviewed the results while encouraging healthier habits such as regular exercise.

After that, employees were free to roam other tables at the Health Fair manned by representatives of Florida Blue and United Capital 403b, to ask about health benefits and the retirement plan.

Estela Gomez, left, a senior family counselor at Catholic Cemeteries, answers questions from a Pastoral Center employee at the May 1 Health Fair.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Estela Gomez, left, a senior family counselor at Catholic Cemeteries, answers questions from a Pastoral Center employee at the May 1 Health Fair.

Catholic Hospice, Catholic Cemeteries, Catholic Health Services and Catholic Charities also were represented this year for the first time. The goal was to showcase the wide range of services offered by the archdiocese’s own agencies, said Susan Waddell, director of the Health Plan.

The May 1 Health Fair coincided with the annual open enrollment period for benefits-eligible employees, which runs throughout the month of May. The new offerings this year include an online benefits portal and a new medical plan option a High Deductible Health Plan with a Healthcare Spending Account.

The Health Plan has contracted with iBenefit Communications to have benefit counselors available to meet with any employee who has questions about the new online system or the health plan options.

One of the things Waddell said she is most proud of is Healthy Additions, a program begun three years ago in partnership with Florida Blue, the archdiocese’s health plan administrator. The program provides expectant mothers with free pre-natal education, vitamins and 24/7 access to obstetric and gynecological nurses who can answer questions about all aspects of pregnancy, including a brief post-partum follow-up.

“It’s a broad-based program that we have modified specifically for us,” said Waddell. And it’s already yielding results. “Our premature birth rate has dropped. We’re having healthy babies.”

About 6,000 employees participate in the archdiocesan health plan, a number that rises to 10,000 when including covered dependents. The employees range from priests and religious to teachers and staff in Catholic schools, nurses and aides in Catholic Health Services facilities, and groundskeepers in Catholic cemeteries.

Waddell’s office has hosted similar health fairs at the seminarian and priests’ convocations, at St. Thomas University and at other archdiocesan facilities.

“We do health fairs for anybody that asks us,” she said.

The Health Plan Office can be contacted at 305-893-0068.

Health Plan staff wait to greet Pastoral Center employees coming to the Health Fair, from left, seated, Sugeily Trujillo and Brenda Hernandez; standing, Susan Waddell, director of the Health Plan.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Health Plan staff wait to greet Pastoral Center employees coming to the Health Fair, from left, seated, Sugeily Trujillo and Brenda Hernandez; standing, Susan Waddell, director of the Health Plan.

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