Our Discovery Expert Perspectives series brings you thoughts, advice, and opinions from experts across the healthcare ecosystem. Discovery maintains an ongoing partnership with these experts to enrich our understanding of the industry and shape solutions that deliver profound value to our clients. We are proud to share these experts’ unique perspectives with you.
We’re all well aware of the many challenges facing our industry and our country right now. A perfect storm of a pandemic, political turmoil, economic stress, and current events have people feeling under siege. Add to that a healthcare industry that is continually under fire and buffeted by changes. Sheltering in place, working remotely while balancing both family and work commitments, and an extremely polarized country have created some truly stressful times.
But out of this chaos comes an opportunity to rethink how we in the healthcare industry do business. It’s an opportunity to create an inclusive corporate culture where people feel they’re doing something important. It’s also the perfect time to rethink how we bring people into the workforce who can work well remotely and independently, yet still add to the sense of community we want to maintain.
The impact on the workforce
I personally know many people who are feeling disconnected, stressed, and overwhelmed right now. It’s the job of the leadership team to make people feel good about where they are and confident that the company can navigate through the chaos. That’s a pretty challenging assignment for leadership!
Leading in the new normal
Evolving leadership in the healthcare industry is more than just being reactive. This could be the moment for companies to get it right, to turn the box upside down and try to put the puzzle back together in a different way. An opportunity for companies to become compelling places for people to work and add value. Recognizing that something like the coronavirus could happen again—how do we prepare for it in the future? The legacy of COVID isn’t going away in a month or two—we could be looking at a year or two.
We need to rethink our formula for success both short- and long-term.
Some things leadership needs to consider
How do we need to change talent recruitment and development to prepare for the future?
How do we recruit people who can work well remotely and independently, but who still want to be part of a group?
Are we spending our money on our employees in the right places?
What’s the profile of someone who can adjust to this new environment and thrive in it?
How do our systems support adaptability and flexibility of individuals?
How do we create a pipeline of diversity and make inclusion part of the corporate culture?
We need a plan B
Healthcare companies are beginning to grapple with the issue of how to create a sense of community and identification in a fragmented world. And that’s going to take some thought in terms of what is it that people treasure, what is it that they really value, and what is it about your company that they identify with. And if there isn’t anything they identify with, why not?
Corporate cultures have typically tended to minimize creativity and innovation individually and in teams. Going forward, I think the only way corporate cultures are going to survive is if they are committed to having the best ideas and developing new responses.
To understand the answers to these questions, we must listen to what our employees say. The new model has to give employees the tools they need and recognize their capacity for individual thinking and creativity.
Leadership needs to rethink what you need to accomplish as an organization—5 years or longer. Rather than look at efficiency—the most results with the fewest people—you will have to think about how to improve community productivity.
For example, in the past, you would have had people come to a meeting and work on a project together. You assumed everyone knew each other. But in this world, you will have to make a real effort to help them.
It’s the perfect opportunity for companies to reinvent how they get work done.
My personal trainer was forced to rethink his company because no one wanted to go to the gym. He now makes most of his money doing virtual training. He has scheduled a lot more people because now he doesn’t have to go back and forth to clients. He’s making more money than before.
He rethought how he did the work—which is what’s needed in companies large and small across the country.
We may be looking at several years of change. It’s no doubt a chaotic environment—but it could be a creative one if we rigorously review what works and what doesn’t and rapidly eliminate the latter.
Two books I recommend: Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin and The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.
Get inspired by leaders who led through difficult times
True leaders offer people a sense of security and a sense of focus. They serve as a beacon for people. In The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, you see how Churchill allowed the British people to feel that they would get through this, that they were moving forward. He never lost courage and his courage bolstered the entire nation.
Another great read, Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a look at four inspirational presidents who steered our country during chaotic and turbulent times. Lincoln had to deal with a civil war and social injustice that threatened to destroy a nation not yet 100 years old.
Both Churchill and Lincoln shared a quality of exceptional leaders—that sense of identification and connectedness with their people. Both of these leaders stayed close to their people. They also provided their people with a clear vision of the future as well as a realistic vision of failure.
People don’t look to leaders for specific answers, but they do expect and value integrity, principles, commitment, and courage. A frazzled employee who is balancing work and home schooling wants to know the person leading the company appreciates them and will be flexible enough to allow them to solve problems without unnecessary restrictions.
Amanda FoxThe evolving leadership role in healthcare
This year marks my sixth Halloween at Discovery Health Partners. Why, you might ask, am I aware of how many Halloweens I’ve celebrated here? Well, first of all, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays—along with all the sights, sounds, tricks, and treats that it brings. But when I joined Discovery in 2014, I had no idea if others would share my enthusiasm—after all, I’m a grown woman, and Halloween is only for kids, right??!! Would my new company allow celebrations in the office for Halloween? Could I decorate my workspace? If I wore a costume, would I be the only one?
As it turned out and to my delight, I soon found out that the answers were yes, yes and yes! Full disclosure—I had decided NOT to dress up in a costume my first Halloween at Discovery because I thought maybe my coworkers were trying to prank me into being the only one in costume. The lesson I quickly learned is that Halloween—and celebrations of many kinds—is an integral part of Discovery’s culture and demonstrate the importance the company places on engaging its employees, encouraging cross-departmental relationship building, creating a sense of community and belonging, and celebrating its people.
Halloween is serious business at Discovery: departments compete for the best-decorated office space; we serve a potluck luncheon featuring employees’ specialty dishes; and hold a full-blown costume contest where employees go all out with their costumes, full makeup, and get in character to walk the competition runway, cheered on by teammates and colleagues.
A virtual twist on employee participation
Because we’ve got the Halloween spirit baked into our DNA at Discovery, not even a pandemic will stand in the way of our 2020 Discovery Halloween plans—we’ll just add a virtual twist.
For most of us, our offices are now at home. Instead of decorated cubicles and office spaces, this year we’ll share photos of our decorated home spaces, where we can offer digital ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and even get ideas for next year.
Wearing face masks have, at least for now, become part of our new normal. Our “COVID Halloween mask” contest will take the place of the in-person costume contest runway. We’ll share photos of ourselves in our best Halloween-decorated COVID masks, and the entire company will vote to select the best in several categories. The photos will be shared on a virtual runway during our quarterly company meeting, where the winners will be announced.
Because it seems that more than a few of us at Discovery enjoy a little friendly competition, on the day before Halloween, we’ll share our lunchtime and knowledge of all things Halloween during own Discovery Halloween Virtual Trivia contest. Winners’ bragging rights are at stake—and believe me, we take those seriously, too!
Our family members and pets are often also our officemates right now. So we’ll include them in our plans by sharing photos of them, and ourselves, celebrating Halloween and other fall traditions—pumpkin carving, apple picking, dressing in costumes. Since we can’t be physically together to share our potluck, we’ll share photos and recipes of our favorite Halloween and fall specialties and treats.
And, in keeping with our #2020Good campaign, we’ll share our time, talent, or treasures with others in need and hope to inspire others to do the same.
Growing up, many of us have experienced Halloweens that were so cold that trick-or-treaters were forced to hide their costumes under bulky winter coats. There were also lots of rainy Halloweens that soaked kids to the bone. But we figured it out then and still carried on. And we’ll figure it again this year despite the limitations that COVID brings. With Discovery’s commitment to engaging its employees and celebrating its people, we’re sure that Halloween 2020 will be another one for the Discovery history books!
Nowhere is COVID-19 felt more acutely than in healthcare. Hospitals are overloaded, clinicians are overworked, and ICU beds are scarce. The pandemic has also had an effect on the ways in which we seek non-emergent care. Telehealth has become a welcome relief for patients who need to seek care but want to stay in the safety of their homes. It also helps providers remotely screen and monitor COVID-19 patients without putting themselves at risk.
In response to the growing need for telehealth, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a waiver on March 6, 2020, allowing all Medicare beneficiaries in all areas of the country to receive telehealth services from home. Previously, telehealth was only allowed in rural areas from healthcare sites. The waiver relaxes several other regulatory guidelines including those surrounding HIPAA, copays, deductibles, and more.
While telehealth has become a lifeline during the pandemic, the potential for improper coding and documentation—and fraud, waste, and abuse—is high. Until reimbursement for telehealth is better understood, health plans are wise to include telehealth claims in their clinical audit programs.
New telehealth regulations
As they manage telehealth claims, health plans need to first fully understand the new payment requirements. There are three types of telehealth services that fall under the telehealth expansion waiver:
Medicare telehealth visits are visits with a provider via telecommunication systems that offer audio and video
Virtual check-ins are brief, patient-initiated check-ins with providers via telephone or other device to determine whether an office visit or other service is needed
E-visits cover communications between a patient and provider through an online patient portal
The waiver also includes stipulations as to whether the patient must be an established patient. A range of providers including doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers can offer telehealth services. In its fact sheet, CMS provides greater detail, as well as HCPCS and CPT codes for telehealth services.
Telehealth payment risks
Relaxing telehealth regulatory guidelines has led to growing concern about a potentially heightened risk of improper payments. Concern has arisen around a few factors:
CMS has approved 135 additional temporary billing codes for telehealth services, and new information and guidelines are changing by the minute, causing confusion and raising the risk of error
Penalties for some HIPAA violations may be waived to encourage telehealth, though this raises concern for patient privacy and safety
States and the federal government have loosened state licensing restrictions, allowing providers to work across state lines, widening the potential for liability and malpractice repercussions
States like California have their own telehealth regulations, which are stricter than the federal government’s. These state regulations must take precedence
Telehealth in clinical audits
As telehealth continues to skyrocket and with relaxed guidelines, health plans need to begin including telehealth claims in their clinical audit programs. Claims need to be reviewed for legitimacy to spot instances of fraud. Plans need to validate that services are coded and billed correctly and verify that appropriate documentation is included in all claims.
Telehealth has been making great inroads in helping to combat the COVID-19 crisis, but until it is better understood, health plans are wise to approach this uncharted territory with a dose of caution.
When a company sets hefty goals to deliver profound client value and create highly engaged employees, it’s not enough to communicate those goals to everyone. To be transformational, every single employee must be 100% committed to contributing to the company’s goals.
Discovery has invested in a comprehensive accountability model based on the concept that when people take personal ownership of the company’s goals and accept responsibility for their own performance, they work at a higher level to ensure their own success AND the company’s overall success.
Working with the culture management firm Partners in Leadership, Discovery has built a culture of accountability by sponsoring training workshops and holding weekly small-group huddles that let employees work on the four best practices of accountability—recognizing when there are gaps in execution, fully and personally owning responsibilities and aligning them to the company’s key results, creatively and collaboratively working on solutions, and actively executing on the solution while building an environment of trust.
“As I like to say, accountability is every Discovery employee’s best friend,” says Phil Garrison, VP of Human Resources at Discovery and the executive sponsor of the company’s accountability program. “For each of us at Discovery, the principles of accountability give us easy-to-use tools to improve our individual work performance, share honest feedback with each other, and contribute very directly to the company’s overall goals. The concepts are so foundational, they can even benefit us in our personal relationships.”
Discovery has integrated the model into many aspects of the company’s processes, onboarding, and expectations, and accountability is a cornerstone of the company’s culture. The company’s new Accountability in Action award is one example.
Each quarter, this award recognizes Discovery employees who demonstrate they have a stake in the company and go above and beyond to contribute to the company’s key results by living the “what else can I do?” attitude.
The first-ever recipient of Discovery’s new Accountability in Action award is Beverly Orwig, an MSP Recovery Specialist who has been with Discovery less than a year.
Beverly received the award—which includes a cash reward, an extra day off with pay, and other perks—for a small gesture done consistently at a challenging time for her team. When COVID-19 hit, Beverly recognized that the pandemic was causing a lot of stress for her coworkers and they were struggling to keep a positive mindset. She asked herself what else she could do to stand out, to make a difference. Beverly took it upon herself to start each morning by posting a positive message to motivate her team, help them push through the challenges, and hit their goals. Focusing on how the team was reacting to the new environment caused by COVID-19, Beverly knew that it can be very hard for people to stay engaged, stay aligned to company goals, and maintain a connection with the team. Beverly’s positive communication among the team members promoted the understanding that the team had the ability and would be able overcome obstacles.
Commenting on receiving the award, Beverly says, “I was beaming—winning made such an impact on me! It made me realize that one individual employee can make such a big difference in the company. This company empowers me every day. It’s what makes Discovery who we are—everyone pushing each other to continue the momentum, to move forward in the same direction.”
Beverly credits her supervisor Shawn Daniels with inspiring her and driving her motivation. “I never want to disappoint him,” Beverly explains. “When he sets a goal for me, well, I’m going to push to overachieve that goal. He takes a personal interest in me and my success and is consistently available to help me.”
Beverly feels she is succeeding at Discovery because of the tools and transparency that the company provides. “Discovery gives me all the tools I need and empowers me to do my job every day,” she says. If I don’t know something, there’s transparent management all the way up to the top to get questions answered. It doesn’t get better than that.”
“I want to be here…I want to come here every day. How many people can say that? I love coming to work every day.”
When she’s not demonstrating accountability at work, Beverly is a murder-mystery bookworm; enjoys Blues, jazz, and swing music; and spends weekends baking and cooking great dishes.
Discovery has built a culture of accountability throughout the company and created a quarterly award to recognize employees that have a stake in the company and go above and beyond by living the “what else can I do?” attitude.
Congratulations to Q1 2020 Accountability in Action award runners-up!
“Christine works to get the issues fixed rather than come up with temporary solutions. She is in constant contact and responds within minutes, often working late to make sure issues are resolved.”
“Chad identified ways that Discovery’s platform could better support the business. He immediately took ownership and spearheaded the development of an app in record time—in addition to his day job.”
If you’d like to learn more about the steps to accountability and building this kind of culture at your organization, we recommend the book The Oz Principle.
Discovery Health PartnersAward-winning Discovery employee proves that small acts of accountability make a big impact
The end of June marks National Subro Professionals’ Day—in honor of these experts, Discovery is celebrating the month of June by turning the spotlight on a few of our very own subrogation professionals who make a unique difference in the value we’re able to deliver to our clients.
Breanna Zima is a Subrogation Operations Manager. She is responsible for helping the Discovery Subrogation team deliver on the company’s core values, including reliable results, trusted quality, and profound client value. A member of the Discovery family for almost five years, Breanna shares with us how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her personally and professionally.
At the Discovery holiday party last December, my fiancé and I took a picture wearing 2020 sunglasses. I was thinking “2020 is going to be the best year yet!” We’ve been together for 12 years, have been planning our wedding for over a year, and were almost at the finish line. Little did any of us know what was in store for us right around the corner. The COVID-19 pandemic rocked everyone to the core and created obstacles most never imagined. Two weeks into the reality of the pandemic, my fiancé and I were faced with the difficult decision to postpone our wedding. We were devastated. We allowed ourselves to be sad for a time, but then picked ourselves up and focused on what we can control. My work as a Subrogation Operations Manager at Discovery has helped me navigate through these tough times.
I manage the paralegals on the recovery side who review applicable statutes, analyze case law, and negotiate resolutions that are most favorable for our clients. The commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare lines that I manage require specific skill sets and adaptability, which is especially needed during these challenging times.
Many of us don’t even realize how this pandemic has changed us as people. COVID-19 has tested my strength and ability as a leader. It has been hard to stay motivated. Not leaving your home for weeks at a time causes fatigue, pessimism, and a plethora of excuses NOT to do what we are responsible to do. What has helped me the most is staying organized and dedicated to my team members. I rely on them, and they rely on me. Period.
Back in April 2019, the Discovery Subrogation department went through the transition of moving to a remote workforce. So when the pandemic hit, I naively thought there wouldn’t be much change for us as a team. But surprisingly, our team mentality has shifted its perspective in an immensely positive way. Conversations and support among teams has greatly increased, and we now host more video calls than ever before. It is great to start our meetings with friendly, smiling faces! I try to make it a point to spend time asking everyone how they are doing, really pausing for answers, discussion, and support for one another.
Keeping our core values in mind—delivering reliable results, trusted quality, and profound value for our clients—is key for me to stay focused and positive on a daily basis. As the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan says “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” We’ve been using the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on pending and settled files and clearing those out. With our focus on recoveries, our team’s productivity has actually improved throughout the pandemic, and that’s showing up in recoveries for our clients.
With many courts closed during the pandemic, our team has been picking up the phone and working with attorneys to resolve as many cases as we can. I’ve also been having more phone conversations with clients to add a human element to the conversations and make it more of a dialog and let them know we are here supporting them. And our offshore team has done an excellent job of reaching out to those we haven’t heard from in a while to get older files resolved.
I’ve noticed that parties are showing each other more compassion during negotiations and being more flexible. We’ve move from fax-based communications to emails so parties can negotiate back and forth more easily. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am proud to have the folks on the Subrogation team stand with me!
The pandemic has reinforced that I am a strong person and can handle whatever God places on my path, and I truly love this company and those who are a part of it. Most importantly, what keeps me going is my gratitude to have my career, a roof over my head, food on my table, and people in my life that have my back.
We cannot anticipate what the rest of 2020 has in store for us, and given the climate of our nation, all I can hope for is that love spreads and positive change marches forward for everyone. What I do know is that throughout Discovery’s history, we have found ways to build strong bonds, overcome obstacles, and stay positive. I know we will continue to do so!
To learn more about what makes Discovery’s Subrogation solution unique, visit our Subrogation page or contact our team today.
Breanna ZimaCore values help Discovery’s Subrogation team navigate the pandemic
Today’s blog post is the third in a special series of posts that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and Employee Wellness Committee ambassador.
I do love me some food! I believe you could deep-fry just about anything and it would taste great. I know it’s not good for me, but it just tastes so good! Growing up in an Italian household probably didn’t help me learn how to make good food choices. When you are surrounded by breads and pastas and wonderful desserts, it’s not easy to pick healthier options to snack on.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize how important it is to incorporate healthier foods into my diet. Healthier foods help maintain a healthy body weight, increase proper nutrition, and promote an overall healthy body. Try some of these easy tips to improve your diet today!
Need some ideas on how to increase your intake? Add roasted veggies to your meal. Find seasonal vegetables, sprinkle with olive oil, and roast them up. Stack veggies on your sandwich. Most people already add lettuce and tomatoes, but consider slicing up a cucumber or shredding a carrot and adding it to your sandwich. Make it a lettuce wrap and swap out the bread altogether! Add fresh fruit to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, or pair fruits with cheese and a good glass of wine for an evening treat.
Good carbs to eat
Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary sources of energy and are an essential part of a healthy diet. A healthy diet should include more complex carbohydrates than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and starch and take longer for the body to digest. They contain more essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Examples include grains, beans, and oats. Simple carbohydrates contain natural sugars easily digested by the body to provide quick energy. Examples of good simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Some examples of bad simple carbs include refined foods like soda, white sugar, and pastries. These are the items that should be a very limited part of your diet.
When you are cooking, try to use brown rice instead of white. Brown rice is a whole grain and higher in fiber than white rice, which has been processed. Brown rice also helps lower cholesterol, promotes fullness, and can help prevent blood clots. Another good carb to incorporate are vegetables, as mentioned above. Try baking a sweet potato or adding a side of roasted vegetables. You can’t go wrong with a simple side salad either—vegetable combinations are endless.
Water, water, water
Did you know that water carries nutrients to the cells in your body and oxygen to the brain? It helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals essential to the function of your organs. Water also helps regulate the body’s temperature and maintain bodily functions. It can boost skin health and lubricate joints, promoting beauty and reducing pain. Water is also a main component of the digestive system, converting food into energy and excreting waste from the body.
You might be thinking it’s boring to drink a simple glass of water. Well, it can be. But did you know there are many food options high in water content? Cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach are over 93% water. Melon, apples, and oranges are over 85% water. Besides the water consumption, these fruits and vegetables are good sources of the daily nutrients our bodies need. I bet you could grab a few off this list of top hydrating foods and toss them together to make a delicious salad or fruit plate!
Another way to maintain a healthy diet is to add healthy snacks to your day. Healthy snacks can increase your energy level and help you lose weight. They can improve your concentration, increase memory, and enhance awareness. Be prepared—have an assortment of healthy options available to keep you on track. Examples of healthy snacks include an apple or carrot sticks. Grab a handful of cashews. Have a bowl of cottage cheese and add some berries. Looking for additional snack ideas? Check out SnackNation’s list of healthy and filling snacks.
In addition to these tips, keep in mind it’s not always what you eat, but how! You need to get to the root of your nutritional imbalances. It’s not always where you go for lunch, but how often you go and what you choose to eat. Are you eating food too close to bedtime on a regular basis? Are weekends becoming your cheat days and causing you to binge on unhealthy foods? Mindful eating can even be as simple as looking at how quickly or slowly you eat your meals. There are many factors to look at when trying to sustain a healthy diet. Just remember, baby steps—Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.
James HeffernanFood for thought—an ingredient for good health
Today’s blog post is the second in a special series of posts that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and ambassador of our Employee Wellness Committee.
Not everyone loves the physical cards they were dealt. Believe me, I sure don’t! But there are so many things we can do to change that. First, it starts with your mental approach. You have to get in the right mindset to change the body.
Exercise can make you feel happier. It has been shown to improve mood and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. It helps build stronger muscles and bones, helping to reduce injuries and prevent osteoporosis later in life. Exercise can increase your energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue. It can reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve brain function. And, obviously, it can help with weight loss. According to the CDC, many people sit at a desk all day, making us much more sedentary and leading to weight gain and other medical problems.
Just because you might be working from home, don’t have access to a gym, or don’t have all the professional equipment doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout. Sometimes you just have to be a bit creative. Here are some creative workout ideas that might inspire you.
Sounds very easy—and it is. Grab your favorite shoes and go for a walk. You might even want to invite a friend along so you can encourage each other. Walking can improve your mood and reduce anger and hostility. It will help you burn calories and is one of the best low-impact ways to change your body composition. Walking can boost your immunity and reduce your risk of disease.
Resistance training is a physical activity that is designed to improve your muscular fitness and endurance. Usually this training incorporates weights or tension bands into the workout. But let’s say you don’t have access to weights or bands—then what are your options? Try doing exercises that utilize your own body weight. Try push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, squats. You can even do exercises while holding household items. One good exercise to strengthen your core is planking. Planking engages many muscles across the whole body to improve posture, increase muscle definition, and improve balance. There are always opportunities when at home to get a good workout. Check out this article for additional workout tips.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on breath control, simple meditation, and body posturing for improved health and relaxation. Its purpose is to bring the body, mind, and environment into harmony. Some benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, muscle strength, and improved respiration. Check out this beginner-level yoga workout.
Pilates consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Its purpose is to increase muscle strength, particularly in the abdomen or core. Some benefits include a total-body workout, improved posture, and decreased pressure on your knees and joints. Check out this beginner-level Pilates workout.
Extra creative workout ideas
Do you like to dance? Even if you don’t, try putting on some fun music and dance like nobody’s watching. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and improve muscle tone. Or try boxing/kickboxing. You can take a class or just set up a weighted bag in your house and throw some punches. It’s my favorite way to relieve stress! How about housework? I’m not a fan of cleaning the house, but adding some loud music can make it fun and help burn some extra calories. If these ideas don’t appeal to you, you can find all kinds of free workout videos online. Find one you like and try it!
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to spends hours in a gym lifting huge weights to improve your overall appearance. You just have to find something you are interested in and stick to it. Make your workouts fun and change them up as needed. Set goals, encourage yourself, and achieve them. In time, you will see a difference, feel better, and—most importantly—improve your overall health.
Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.
James HeffernanThe body issue—because we all have one
FierceHealthPayer features an article by Jeff Martin, Vice President of Eligibility Operations at Discovery Health Partners. The article highlights the importance of making sure MA plans receive the revenue they deserve in order to ensure a stable financial picture during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s blog post is the first in a special series that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and Employee Wellness Committee ambassador.
An accountant by trade, I’ve been working on Discovery’s Finance team for over two years and have been in this profession for over 20. One thing I’ve found to be true—accounting and creativity are not a good mix on the job. It’s not a good idea to get “creative” with a company’s finances—it’ll usually land you on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for all the wrong reasons.
In order to express my creative side, several years ago I decided to sign up for an improv acting class to channel my creativity. I found this outlet to be more than just learning improv; it allowed me to be creative and confident with my comedy and found a whole new community to work with. In turn, I formed an improv comedy troupe and have enjoyed creating laughter ever since.
What I’ve learned first-hand over the years is that laughter is a very important part of health and wellness.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? How did you feel after that bout of hysterical insanity? I bet it felt great. There are medical reasons for this feeling. It has been proven that laughter improves your heart, lungs, and muscles due to an increase in oxygen intake. Also, laughter can relieve stress and help you deal with difficult situations. When you laugh, the body releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemical. These endorphins lighten your mood and possibly help you live a longer life.1 Laughter is also linked to burning calories. And believe me, I’ll take a good laugh-until-you-cry moment over exercise any day!
We all need to increase our opportunities to laugh these days, especially while working from home due to COVID-19. With limited social interactions, finding the right way to express ourselves becomes more difficult. We need to find those outlets for laughter to continue to improve our well-being and keep ourselves interested and engaged. Here are a few ideas that can help bring some laughter into your otherwise ordinary day.
Fun with children
There was a whole television show based around kids saying the darnedest things! It’s very true. Sit down with your kids and tell funny stories and jokes. Pull out games or puzzles and play together. Suggest something crazy like an obstacle course through the house or dressing up in crazy outfits. You’ll be shocked how much you laugh and, in turn, your child will laugh with you. It’s important to take the time to have fun as a family.
Fun with pets
Laughter is an important part of human interactions. When you live alone with a pet, you tend to treat your pet as your companion, and he can provoke laughter in you. Think about it this way, if you talk to Fido, why wouldn’t you laugh with him, too? Get down on the floor and play tug-of-war or throw a ball. I bet you laugh. People tend to laugh when they see a dog fail at catching a ball or do something unexpected like jumping on the ball. This surely will bring a smile to your face.
Fun with co-workers and friends
Humor is a social activity. That’s why you laugh more watching a movie in a theater full of people rather than alone in your house. Reach out to your co-workers or friends. Schedule a meeting for lunch and share some of the funny things that have happened to you or your family—you may be surprised how happy this will make you. Nowadays, you can do almost anything virtually, from playing games to happy hours. You just have to find the right platform and enjoy the fun.
It’s important to find opportunities that work for you based on your individual style. There are many multimedia platforms, ranging from television shows and movies to online videos to visiting a comedy club. During this time, there are many comedy clubs that are offering online performances and classes you can take. Check your local neighborhood listings for these opportunities.
There are literally hundreds of possibilities for increasing laughter in your life. You need to find what’s funny to you. It can be as easy as finding some simple items like comic strips or funny photos—put them on your refrigerator, add funny quotes to your home office, watch your favorite funny movies, or listen to comical podcasts when you need a humor boost. I think it’s safe to say that we are all experiencing a certain degree of new stress these days. Find a way to laugh about your own situation and give yourself the permission to laugh at yourself! Feel the stress melt away. Make it a habit to find the funny every day and improve your overall well-being.
Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.
COVID-19 roundtable: Helping you get payment integrity done
What you can expect from this webinar
The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly and drastically changed the way we’re living and working these days. This webinar helps health plans solve payment integrity operational challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about working from home, security infrastructure, and productivity
Gain insights from Discovery’s own experience transforming to a remote workforce company over a year ago
Use the quick form on the right to view the webinar on-demand.
Telehealth has become a lifeline during the pandemic, but the potential for improper coding and documentation is high. Health plans are wise to include telehealth claims in their clinical audit programs.
Discovery’s accountability culture motivates employees to work at a higher level for their own success and help the company achieve its key results. The Accountability in Action award has been given to Beverly Orwig, MSP Recovery Specialist.
Discovery’s Wellness Committee ambassador Jim Heffernan shares healthy snack alternatives in the third post of this special series to celebrate the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month.
Discovery’s Wellness Committee ambassador combats workout excuses that come with working from home in the second of a special series of posts to celebrate the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month.