MHMC recognizes Chuck Hewett and JAX for Maine healthcare leadership

Bar Harbor, Maine—Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D., executive vice president and COO of The Jackson Laboratory, has been named by the Maine Health Management Coalition (MHMC) as among the top 20 Mainers who have worked to improve the value of health care in Maine.

Hewett’s work in establishing an effective wellness program and other health initiatives for Jackson employees earned him the MHMC "20 in 20" award. These awards, created to celebrate MHMC’s 20th anniversary, will be presented at the organization’s annual symposium in Portland, Maine, on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Thanks to the programs carried out by the Laboratory’s Human Resources Department and Benefits and Wellness Offices, The Jackson Laboratory has had exceptional success in improving the health outcomes and functional status of 2,200 employees and dependents. Between 2008 and 2012, hospital admissions have decreased by more than 50 percent, days of care by more than 40 percent, and surgeries and ER visits by nearly 20 percent each. Medical costs have declined 20 percent.

"Being active and healthy is a critical part of a good life," Hewett says. "And an employer has an obligation to encourage employees to eat right and exercise, and make the necessary resources available. It's the right thing to do for people, and it's also good economics for the employer. We’re fortunate to have an HR team that delivers great programs and employees who take advantage of them."

The Laboratory has built a state-of-the-art fitness facility at the Bar Harbor headquarters campus; a similar facility opened in July at the Laboratory's Sacramento campus (the Lab’s contractor, Market 1 Builders, did the work at cost to support the wellness effort), and is part of new construction for The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn.

The holistic JAXfit wellness program—encompassing biometric analysis, fitness training, personal coaching, chronic disease management, preventive care, and much more—together with the Lab’s Provider of Distinction program for hospitals, clinics and labs, has kept employee health insurance costs from rising in the last six years. Scores of employees have moved from high-risk to moderate- or low-risk health categories as measured by annual health risk appraisals and health care data.

For the "20 in 20" awards, MHMC assembled a panel of three national judges to evaluate nominations from throughout Maine. The awards are intended "to recognize individuals from around the state that have worked to improve the value of health care in Maine, to teach others about successful efforts that have been/are being carried out, and to inspire others around the state to work collaboratively to improve the quality and lower the cost of health care in Maine."

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,500. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.