Healthy and engaged employees, along with strong workplace culture, are quickly being recognized as the key to business success. With Millennials now making up the majority of the workforce, there is more pressure for companies to make workplace wellness central to their business philosophy. Corporate wellness programs help to engage employees and improve their health so that they show up every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy.
Though the offerings and the exact structure of the program may vary by program, one of the biggest components of company wellness is nutrition.
In this article, we’re covering ways that nutrition professionals can work with corporations to deliver workplace wellness services — and to help corporate employees to utilize their health benefits to cover the costs.
Why corporate wellness services matter in 2020
Compared to Boomers, Millennials are seeking jobs with better health benefits — making workplace wellness a critical component to attracting and retaining employees.
Based on a 2016 report, among employees offered a wellness program, 61% of employees agree that they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program. And employees who participated in wellness programs offered at their workplaces had higher levels of job satisfaction. 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.
Wellness programs promote positivity, illness prevention, and healthful lifestyle. For most busy professionals, the demands of the workplace, and limited work-life flexibility, leads to very little time to work on self-care. It can be challenging for employees to carve out time to meet with wellness professionals, like dietitians, when their schedules just don’t allow for it. On-site workplace wellness programs provide healthcare services directly to employees. It offers a convenient and effective way to deliver quality nutritional care and even ongoing support for employees.
For nutrition professionals, working with employers to create a workplace wellness program offers many benefits for your practice. Not only will you impact employee wellness in a meaningful way, but you’ll also be able to add a new revenue source to your business. As an insurance-based provider, leading with this option can be attractive to potential employers. While they may be interested in sponsoring workplace wellness initiatives, you can be sure that they are more interested in helping employees use their insurance as payment. It serves as a win-win-win for you, the employer, and their employees.
Connect with the employee who manages corporate wellness services
Traditionally, the representative at an employer who manages workplace wellness has been the HR Manager. While this is certainly one person to connect, many more companies today will have a dedicated person to manage wellness services. Working with startups, who are very in tune to providing wellness benefits, the initial point of contact may even be the Startup Culture Officer or Office Manager.
To get started, find a direct contact within the company. Lean on friends, family, and current clients to help provide you with a contact. You can then use that contact to best direct you to the decision-maker for wellness initiatives within the company. You may only be able to get an email address, but if you can, try to connect on the phone or in their office for a quick meeting.
Learn as much as you can about the company, their current wellness initiatives, and carve out a pitch for how you can help design a nutrition or wellness program that will benefit both your nutrition practice and the corporation.
- Always lead with the numbers. Corporate decision-makers rely heavily on statistics and data. Make sure you come prepared to showcase the value of nutrition in the workplace.
- Be ready to collaborate. While it’s good to have service offerings in mind, it’s important to listen to the employer to hear what their team needs first. Building the program, especially if you’re endeavoring to create an ongoing program (as opposed to a one-time on-site contract work), you’ll need to collaborate to build the right program/package that will fit the team.
Introducing insurance billing into your workplace nutrition program
If you were able to be referred-in by an existing client, you may already have an idea of the insurance plans offered, and benefits to employees. You can start off by explaining how you are currently in-network with insurance payers, and begin a discussion on what plans/benefits employees have for nutritional care.
Based on this information, you can begin to collaborate on ways that your program can utilize these benefits. Some ways you can offer nutrition services in the workplace that may be eligible for insurance reimbursement:
- Group nutrition counseling sessions
- Individual nutrition counseling sessions
As with any wellness initiative, change takes time. While corporate wellness programs may look to have a one-time nutrition event, such as a lunch-and-learn, or private employee consultations, don’t hesitate to propose ongoing programs. You may want to offer to be on-site every two weeks to follow-up with employees or provide monthly group workshops. If benefits will cover, it will be an easy yes for the company to offer these ongoing wellness services.
Information to collect from corporate wellness employees
When helping corporate employees utilize their nutrition or wellness benefits, you also will want to have a policy form in place indicating who is financially responsible for “client-owed” responsibilities, such as copays, deductibles, and denied services. While this can be tricky, sorting it all out in advance with the on-site coordinator will be immensely helpful. If you are familiar with the insurance payer, you can have a good idea of which services (and how many sessions) will typically be provided, and whether clients typically have a copay for preventive services. You can then draft up a financial agreement that is understood by the company, and the employees.
Health Assessment and Progress Forms
If you’d like to collect any health information on your corporate wellness employees, you can include an assessment form in your new client paperwork. You may want to keep this form brief and be sure to include important metrics you’d like to collect. The main purpose of corporate wellness services is to show how you can help improve health outcomes for employees. Getting a baseline for weight, body fat, typical dietary intake, energy levels, weekly workouts, etc will allow you to follow-up and track client progress.
Use this data you’ve collected to periodically present to your employee contact, and make the pitch for ongoing nutrition services. For your convenience, you may want to create a simple “Progress” form for employees to complete periodically.
How to bill for nutrition corporate wellness services
This code is usually provided by your client’s doctor, except in the instances where preventive services have been provided. For most on-site employee wellness programs, you’ll likely be using a preventive code until benefits are exhausted. If providing ongoing nutritional care to a corporate employee, then you may need to choose a different diagnosis code, depending on what they are seeking nutritional counseling for.
- Z71.3 — Dietary counseling and surveillance
CPT Codes for Nutrition Consultants
CPT, or Current Procedural Terminology, codes are the codes that identify the service you provided as a healthcare professional.
The three most common medical nutrition therapy (MNT) codes that dietitians use on claims are listed below. Public insurers, like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as private insurance carriers, can recognize these CPT codes.
- 97802 – For an initial assessment, face-to-face
- 97803 – For a follow-up visit or reassessment, face-to-face
- 97804 – For a group visit (2 or more individuals)
When creating a superbill or filling out a CMS 1500 form, you will also have to specify the number of units and your fee per unit. Keep in mind, insurance billing is in units of 15 minutes each. This means a 1-hour initial assessment is 4 units.
Place of Service Codes
While completing your CMS 1500 form which will be submitted to insurance payers for reimbursement, it’s important to indicate the correct Place of Service (POS) code. For on-site corporate wellness programs, you’ll utilize code:
- 18 — Place of Employment – Worksite
A “place of employment” location, not described by any other POS code, is described by CMS as “owned or operated by a public or private entity where the patient is employed, and where a health professional provides on-going or episodic occupational medical, therapeutic or rehabilitative services to the individual.”
The image above represents selecting POS code 18 on a CMS 1500 form through the Healthie platform.
Choosing a technology platform to support your corporate wellness services
In the past, hosting corporate wellness services on-site depended on nutrition consultants to manage their services on paper — collecting paper policy forms, sharing printed handouts or educational materials, printing PowerPoint slides. As companies have grown more modern, employees too are seeking more streamlined and online ways to receive an education. Advances in technology can help make employer wellness programs more effective and allows for nutrition consultants to engage with employees.
Healthie is an all-in-one practice management platform designed for nutrition and wellness professionals, that uniquely fits the needs for a corporate wellness consultant. Healthie’s HIPAA-compliant web and mobile app that allows nutrition and wellness professionals to run their business, connect with clients and engage with corporate wellness employees. With an insurance billing feature, submitting CMS 1500 claims for corporate clients is a breeze.
Employees get a secure sign-in to the Healthie portal, where they are able to:
- Message their wellness professional
- Complete programs the wellness professional creates
- Complete any electronic paperwork, like an assessment form or progress form
- Access documents and resources
- Complete goals
- Track their food intake
- Link their wearable fitness trackers
- Launch a telehealth call (individual or group)
- Join a webinar
- and more
Make more time to grow your business.
Use a platform that automates the administrative, so you can focus on growth and care.