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Did you see the February edition of “Healthy Living with Business Health Trust“?

Our monthly newsletter offers small employers in Washington the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program, help their employees make good use of medical and wellness benefits, and keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state.

Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with Business Health Trust!

 

Kaiser Permanente Weather Alert

Stay updated on facility closures and care options

When winter weather brings snow and ice, Business Health Trust partner Kaiser Permanente wants you to stay safe and be able to get the care you need. While Kaiser Permanente is working hard to keep care locations open, some facilities may need to close for the safety of members and staff.

If you plan to visit a medical facility or urgent care center, please check the Weather Updates page before you travel, or call ahead. If you have a scheduled appointment and you don’t feel safe to travel, please call your doctor’s office to reschedule.

Get quick care without leaving home

If conditions make it difficult for you to travel to a medical facility, you have other options.

  • Consulting Nurse Service. A nurse listens to your concerns and gives you care advice or directs you to the best ways to get care. Call (206) 630-2244 or 1-800-297-6877, 24 hours a day.
  • Care Chat. Real-time online medical care from a Kaiser Permanente care provider is available 7 days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sign in to kp.org/wa to get started.

In-person care

If you would like to be seen in person by a Kaiser Permanente provider, CareClinic by Kaiser Permanente at Bartell Drugs may be easier to get to than a medical facility or doctor’s office. These walk-in clinics offer care for minor medical issues for everyone ages 2 and up. Find an open CareClinic location near you.

Tips For A Healthy Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a major cause of disability. There are many things that can raise your risk of heart disease. They are called risk factors. Some of them you cannot control, but there are many that you can control. Learning about them can lower your risk of heart disease.

What are the heart disease risk factors that I cannot change?

  • Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.
  • Gender. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women with some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
  • Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
  • Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.

What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease:

  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly – at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure.
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides may also raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk of heart disease. This is mostly because they are linked to other heart disease risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Controlling your weight can lower these risks.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease. Try these Heart-Healthy recipes.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. You can talk to your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
  • Manage stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a “trigger” for a heart attack. Also, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
  • Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because, over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, to keep it under control.
  • Make sure that you get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits. If you have frequent sleep problems, contact your health care provider. One problem, sleep apnea, causes people to briefly stop breathing many times during sleep. This interferes with your ability to get a good rest and can raise your risk of heart disease. If you think you might have it, ask your doctor about having a sleep study. And if you do have sleep apnea, make sure that you get treatment for it.

Source: Medline Plus, How to Prevent Heart Disease, Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html, on 2/8/2019

Business Health Trust (BHT) members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross have access to up to three in-person visits with a counselor through Wellspring EAP. For more information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through BHT, view the plan summary.

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

Winter weather keeping you indoors? Enjoy cooking some heart-healthy comfort food to keep your hands busy and your belly full!

The National Institutes of Health, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a library of recipes featuring all kinds of meals.

Search the full library, or check out some of the featured Soups and Stews below!

  • Minestrone Soup
    A cholesterol-free version of this classic Italian vegetable soup—brimming with fiber-rich beans, peas, and carrots.
  • Corn Chowder
    Using low-fat milk instead of cream lowers the saturated fat content in this hearty dish.
  • Beef and Bean Chili
    Chili can be an easy and healthy option—this hearty recipe has just the right balance of flavors!
  • Bean and Macaroni Soup
    Beans and veggies make this soup hearty and healthy!
  • Chicken Stew
    Save leftovers for lunch the next day!

For more information on cardiovascular healthy, check out these Tips for a Healthy Heart.

Business Health Trust (BHT) members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross have access to up to three in-person visits with a counselor through Wellspring EAP. For more information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through BHT, view the plan summary.

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Event: Elevate NW Series: How to Succeed in a Growing City

How do small businesses keep pace with the challenges and opportunities of a growing city? To find out, join the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce at its next installment of the Elevate NW Series: How to Succeed in a Growing City.

You will hear from three long-standing small businesses on changes and trends they’ve seen in Seattle and how they’ve managed to stay successful as our region develops. Learn how these fellow businesses tackle issues like increasing rent, an expanding workforce, competition with larger companies, and a changing marketplace.

This event is free and includes sips and snacks, networking, and activities in a fun and relaxed environment.

  • Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019
  • Time: 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Location: Microsoft Events Center at the Seattle Metro Chamber
  • Address: 1301 Fifth Avenue, Ste 1500, Seattle , WA , 98101 (Get Directions)
  • Members: Free, registration requested
  • Non-Members: Free, registration requested

Questions? Contact Hannah Holman at 206.389.7216.

Speakers:
Kristi Brown
Founder and Chef
That Brown Girl Cooks!

Vivan Hua
Executive Director
Northwest Film Forum

Anna Johnson
VP of Operations
DRY Soda Co.

Moderated by:
Domonique Meeks
Small Business Advocate, City of Seattle
Office of Economic Development

Elevate NW, a bimonthly series designed specifically to help startups and small to mid-size businesses with different challenges they face, is offered through the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the sponsoring association of Business Health Trust.

Is Your Mouth Ready for the Most Romantic Day of the Year?

When was the last time you showed your teeth some love? If it’s been a while, chances are that you may not be ready for Valentine’s Day, which is almost here! That means right now is the perfect time to focus on making sure your mouth (and your breath) are in tiptop shape and ready for anything the month of romance may bring.

To help you get a head start on Valentine’s Day, here are some of the best tips we’ve put together to ensure you have the cleanest kisser for the month of February.

Sign up for MySmile Today info box.

Tip #1 – Get Your Teeth Deep Cleaned

If you haven’t done so, the beginning of the year is a good time to get your yearly teeth cleaning done. A deep clean will help give your mouth the jump start it needs to keep your breath fresh for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Before you make an appointment, make sure to activate your MySmile account so you can get familiar with your benefits and options available to you.

Tip #2 – Clean Your Tongue Regularly

It’s not romantic, but the truth is that our mouth and tongue are inundated with bacteria. One of the best (and most forgotten) ways to combat bacteria in your mouth is to brush your tongue regularly with a tongue scraper. You’ll know your tongue is squeaky clean because it will be a fleshy pink color.

Tip #3 – Get Rid of Bad Breath

Bad breath is not only the ultimate mood killer, but it can also cause major health problems down the line if left untreated. An easy first step you can take to get rid of bad breath is to start flossing every day and night. Because flossing keeps bacteria from building up in the small nooks and corners of your teeth, you’ll have much fresher breath that you and your valentine can enjoy.

* Delta Dental of Washington, 2019

Photo of Seattle skyline and connecting interstates.

Event: Executive Speaker Series: The Future of Transportation

Hear from a panel of local experts about what the future of transportation in our region could look like at the next Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Executive Speaker Series. Panelists will discuss the possibilities and opportunities, as well as the challenges ahead, around the topics of high speed rail, autonomous and electric vehicles, and mass transit.

  • Event: The Future of Transportation
  • Date: Thursday, February 14, 2019
  • Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Microsoft Events Center at the Seattle Metro Chamber
  • Address: 1301 5th Ave, Ste 1500, Seattle, WA, 98101 (Get Directions)
  • Members: $45 pre-paid ($55 as of 2/7)
  • Non-Members: $70 pre-paid ($110 as of 2/7)

Questions? Contact Betsy Paige at 206.389.7345.

Speakers:
Rob Gannon
General Manager
King County Metro

Loreana Marciante
Low Carbon Mobility, Strategy Manager
Vulcan, Inc.

Caleb Weaver
Public Affairs
Uber

More panelists to be announced!

Moderator:
Rachel Smith
Chief of Staff
King County Executive Dow Constantine

For more information, visit the website of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the sponsoring association of Business Health Trust.

Keeping Up with Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave

Source: Archbright

Beginning January 1, 2020, family and medical leave will be available through a state-administered plan to all employees employed by an employer in Washington state. Funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees, family and medical leave insurance benefits will be payable by the Employment Security Department to employees during a period in which they are unable to perform their regular or customary work because of the need for family and medical leave.

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (WPFML) is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees. Premium assessment began on January 1, 2019. The law sets the initial premium rate at 0.4 percent of wages. Medical leave benefits equal 2/3 of the premium rate and family leave benefits equal the remaining 1/3.

  • Employers are responsible for 55 percent of the medical leave premium.
  • Employees are responsible for 45 percent of the medical leave premium and up to 100 percent of the premiums due for the family leave.

Employers may elect to pay all of the premiums or deduct the employee portion of the assessment from employee’s paychecks. The amount of wages subject to a premium assessment is capped at the maximum wages subject to social security tax.

Employers with less than 50 employees working in Washington state are exempt from paying the employer portion of the premium; however, their employees must still pay the employee share.

An eligible employer with an approved “voluntary plan” may “opt out” of the state program provided the employer’s plan allows the employee the same or more generous benefits. Voluntary plans are paid family and medical leave benefits offered by employers directly to their employees, outside of the state plan. Voluntary plan applications must be submitted through the state’s online portal and approved by the state. If approved, voluntary plans can only take effect at the start of a calendar quarter and must stay in effect for one year.

The state is in the rulemaking process of this law, which means it is still developing the scope and content of the rules for the Paid Family and Medical insurance program. Archbright will continue to monitor the rules and update members as information is available.

As an online member of Archbright through Business Health Trust, you have 24/7 access to the HR Toolkit, a collection of hundreds of documents including policies, forms, templates, letters and guidance. This library also includes our comprehensive WPFML KeyNote and FAQ resource to help members like you navigate this complex new law.

You are also invited to attend our upcoming Virtual CoffeeTalk where Erin Jacobson, Staff Counsel, and Joy Sturgis, HR Advisor, will explore WPFML. Join us at this free event as our experts review the legislation and the scope and content of the rules that the State is scheduled to roll out.

When: March 18 | 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Where: Virtual CoffeeTalk – WebEx
Cost: Free

Visit Archbright.com to register today!

Starting The Year Out With Positivity

One of the most powerful influences on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself. It is not what happens to you but how you respond internally to what happens to you that determines your thoughts, feelings and your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue (what you say to yourself), or your “self-talk,” you can begin to gain control over every part of your life.

Below are some examples of how we undermine our own success, followed by a more positive way to handle each scenario.

  • Expecting the worst: “What if I don’t make a good impression?” Expecting the worst does not encourage you to behave as though you can succeed. Expecting the worst only promotes stress.
    Instead: Ask questions that presuppose positive outcomes: “How can I make a favorable impression?”
  • Focusing only on problems: This also is known as complaining. We dwell on problems, instead of solutions. ​
    Instead: Assume most problems have solutions and ask: “How do I want this situation to be different? What can I do to improve the situation?”
  • Thinking in absolutes: We exaggerate reality with words like “always,” “never” and “everyone,” as in, “I always eat too much — I will never lose weight.”​
    Instead: Replace exaggeration with words that more accurately reflect reality. Example: “I often eat more than I need, but I can change that.”
  • All-or-nothing thinking: We distort reality by thinking only in extremes. Our efforts become total failures or complete successes — with nothing in between. Example: “Either I go to the gym 5 days a week, or I’m going to quit going.”​
    Instead: Give yourself options or choices whenever possible. Example: “I want to go to the gym several times a week. Even once a week is an improvement. I will keep trying harder instead of giving up when things aren’t perfect.”
  • Negative labels: Negative labels are the tools we use to lower self-esteem in ourselves and others. Example: “I’m not disciplined enough.”  When we say phrases like these often, they become a part of our identity and we can begin to dislike who we are.
    Instead: Change your negative “I am” statement into a statement about behaviors. Example: “I make unhealthy choices when it comes to food.” It’s easier to change a behavior than to change your identity.

Negative self-talk perpetuates negative emotions, such as pessimism, guilt, fear and anxiety. When you catch yourself negative self-talking, take a deep breath, relax or get up and stretch, take a walk, get a drink of water. Do something to interrupt your train of thought and get out of the negative rut.

If you have difficulty changing your negative self-talk, speaking to a counselor may be helpful.

Business Health Trust (BHT) members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross have access to up to three in-person visits with a counselor through Wellspring EAP. For more information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through BHT, view the plan summary.

If you would like to access your Wellspring EAP benefits, go to WellspringEAP.org; or to purchase Wellspring EAP services, connect with us at BusinessHealthTrust.com/contact-us.

Event: Horizons Economic Forecast 2019

Join the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber for this breakfast event where the 2019 annual forecast of the area’s economic well-being, the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) report, is presented. These insights on the local, regional and national aspects of the economy make this an invaluable event for local businesses who want assistance in determining their business outlook.

Tom Layson, Host & Producer of KBTC’s Northwest Now will discuss the future economic landscape of Pierce County with economist and researcher Dr. Neal Johnson of Sound Resource Economics.

  • Event: Horizons Economic Forecast 2019
  • Date: January 23, 2019
  • Time: 7-9 a.m.
  • Location: Greater Tacoma Convention Center
  • Address: 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402
  • Cost: $100 for chamber members in advance ($110 at the door); $120 non-chamber member in advance ($140 at the door)

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is an association partner of the Business Health Trust.