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How we work

Washington Wellness aims to build, grow, and sustain effective worksite wellness programs to maximize individual and organizational health and well-being that follows both legislative and governor guidance:

Goal

Build, grow, and sustain effective worksite wellness programs to maximize individual and organizational health and well-being.

Strategies

  1. Evaluate data to characterize population.
    • Organization Well-being Assessment reports.
    • SmartHealth participation data.
    • Needs assessments.
    • Key informant interviews.
    • Human resources data.
    • Advisory and stakeholder group feedback.
    • Wellness studies and research.
  2. Develop, implement, and monitor evidence-based and population-focused approaches.
    • SmartHealth.
    • Tobacco cessation programs.
    • Diabetes prevention and management programs.
    • Chronic disease self-management programs.
  3. Develop worksite wellness capacity.
    • Organizational best health and well-being practices.
    • Employee wellness support.
    • Wellness coordinator professional development.
    • Technical assistance to agencies, higher education, and political subgroups.
    • Integrate worksite and online employee wellness.
  4. Engage target population.
    • Promote health and wellness tools, resources, and programs.
    • SmartHealth.
    • Diabetes prevention program.
    • Tobacco cessation programs.
  5. Maintain and improve Washington Wellness operations.
    • Program planning, implementation, management and evaluation.
    • Internal staff capacity building.

Governor's direction

In January 2013, Governor Jay Inslee announced his four priorities for health care. Among them was a focus on primary and preventive care to decrease state employee health care costs. In October 2013, the Governor issued Executive Order 13-06, which aims to increase employee health and productivity, while decreasing health risk and cost by:

  • Establishing a State Employee Health and Wellness Steering Committee to design a comprehensive wellness program for state employees.
  • Mandating agencies to participate in and make significant progress toward achieving the eight standards of wellness programs.
  • Directing agencies to participate in diabetes prevention.
  • Calling on agencies to adopt a healthy food and beverage policy.

History

In January 2006, former Governor Chris Gregoire directed the Health Care Authority and the Department of Health to launch Washington Wellness, a statewide wellness initiative to improve the health of state employees, retirees, and their family members (Governor's Directive to Create Washington Wellness Works).

To carry out this ambitious directive, Washington Wellness was fully staffed in January 2007 within the Health Care Authority. State agencies and institutions of higher education designate wellness coordinators to plan, implement, and improve wellness work in their own organizations, and Washington Wellness provides training and support to wellness coordinators to do this work.

It takes more than a dedicated wellness coordinator, however, and the most successful organizations find that a coordinated, integrated effort is needed to improve employee health and productivity.

Governor Inslee’s State Employee Health and Wellness Steering Committee, and the Wellness Coordinator Advisory Committee, which consists of wellness coordinators representing a variety of agencies and higher education institutions, support Washington Wellness.

Related laws and rules

Wellness advisory opinions

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board published the following advisory opinions (AO) related to wellness:

  • AO 96-03: De Minimis Use of State Resources
  • AO 08-01: Authorizing Wellness Organizations to Sell Products
  • AO 10-01: Use of resources for wellness program

Need more help?

Contact the Washington State Executive Ethics Board if you have a wellness ethics question not answered here.

Contact

Email: wawellness@hca.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-1700