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4 Ways to Protect Your Eyes from COVID-19

From our wellness partners at VSP Vision Care Inc.

Although Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new disease and experts are still learning how it spreads, touching a surface or object that has any virus or germs on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes can lead to infection.

Business Health Trust wellness partners VSP Vision Care Inc. has teamed up with Dr. Jennifer Tsai, OD, to answer a few questions about ways to protect your eyes during this outbreak.

Is it safe to wear contacts?

Yes, as of now and the most sanitary option is daily contacts.

The cardinal rule for staying healthy is to wash your hands often. The eyes are an entry point for germs, including viruses which makes washing your hands immediately before handling contacts especially important. This will also help keep the silicone hydrogel clean and free of unwelcome particles, like skin oils, dust, and harmful bacteria. The American Optometric Association recommends that you scrub your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

How do you clean your glasses?

COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces for 1-3 days. To sanitize glasses, fill a spray bottle with 3/4 alcohol (70% ethyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol), 1/4 water, and 2-3 drops of dish soap. Apply the solution and wipe any part of the frames that touch your face. This solution is only recommended for glasses without anti-reflective coating and not plastic lenses, as the alcohol can strip off the coating.

For most frames, adding a drop of soap to the surface and rubbing with your fingers will do a substantial job of removing any bacteria. Be sure to wash your hands first (to remove any oil) and don’t forget the nose pads!

To dry, shake off excess water and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Be mindful that using your shirt or paper could scratch the lenses. Microfibers can sometimes leave particles so if you don’t have a cloth, use a compressed air duster instead (like the one for your keyboard).

Is it safe to wear eyelash extensions?

It’s currently unclear but why risk it? Bacteria can live on hair and lashes for short amounts of time. Stick to mascara for now and be sure to sanitize your brushes and applicators regularly.

How do you clean makeup applicators?

Easy! Fill a spray bottle with 3/4 rubbing alcohol and 1/4 water, then apply to any brushes before every application. You can also use gentle shampoo periodically. Simply squirt a bit into a cup of warm water, then soak your sponges in the bubbly solution. Squeeze and rinse until the water runs clear. For brushes, swirl the tips in the water and shampoo, then in the palm of your hand to work up a lather. Next, run the bristles under warm water until there is no more product. Finally, lay all your brushes and sponges flat on a clean cloth to dry. Voila!

This article was reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Tsai, OD. Dr. Tsai practices optometry in New York City.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Woman meditating next to smart phone.

Find Health in the New Year with Self-Help Apps

Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical from Kaiser Permanente now have access to two powerful apps that can help build resilience, set goals, and maintain health and emotional well-being in everyday situations and throughout challenging times. Calm and MyStrength® are evidence-based apps that are hand-picked by Kaiser Permanente physicians and are easy to use and confidential.

Calm app

Calm uses meditation and mindfulness to help lower stress, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Key features include:

  • Guided meditations
  • Soothing bedtime tales for grown-ups
  • Exclusive music tracks to aid focus, relaxation, and sleep
  • Master classes taught by well-known experts

MyStrength app

This app offers personalized programs designed to support mental, emotional, and overall well-being. MyStrength offers a broad range of programs focusing on:

  • Managing depression
  • Controlling anxiety and reducing stress
  • Supporting new parents
  • Aiding drug, alcohol, and nicotine recovery
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation

Members can get the Calm and myStrength apps and explore more self-care resources at kp.org/wa/mhw. Many of Kaiser Permanente’s mental health and emotional well-being tools are available to anyone. Only Kaiser Permanente members can access the Calm and myStrength apps at no cost.

Stay Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccine with 2 Partner Webinars Next Week

The COVID-19 vaccine is all over the news, but many questions remain.

Our Business Health Trust partners are ready with answers to help you navigate the next normal of COVID-19 at the following free webinars:

Kaiser Permanente: COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Mental Health Resources

Thursday, December 17, 2020
3 – 4 p.m.

Learn about the scientific realities of coronaviruses and COVID-19, control measures, the human impact, and Kaiser Permanente’s response, including:

  • COVID-19 updates and trends — Insights on the current state of the pandemic, including treatment and testing
  • Emerging vaccine developments — Relevant information regarding the development, FDA review, and distribution of recently approved COVID-19 vaccines
  • Mental health resources

Speakers are Dr. Lisa Jackson, Senior Investigator and Internist, and Jessica Sandhu, Flu Campaign Manager.

Seattle Chamber’s #WeGotThisWA Series: Update on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, December 17, 2020
11 a.m. to noon

Hear the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health – Seattle & King County. Francesca Holme, Flu Coordination Technical Specialist, will share the most recent COVID-19 data for King County and provide an update on the plans for vaccine rollout in the region.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the plan sponsor of Business Health Trust. Its ongoing #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series is designed to provide timely and accurate information and resources on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay Safe and Stay Open with Free Sanitizing Supply Kits for Small Businesses

Business Health Trust aims to be a resource to employers by providing affordable and comprehensive employee benefits. As our economy continues to open up, we want to ensure small businesses across our region have the supplies they need to keep their employees and customers healthy and safe this holiday season.

To support this goal, Business Health Trust has partnered with King County to offer Sanitizing Supply Kits at no cost to qualifying businesses in December. Each kit contains:

  • Hand sanitizer station with automatic dispenser and refill
  • Pump bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant approved by EPA to kill COVID-19
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disposable masks
  • Posters and resources to promote employee safety

These will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis to businesses that meet the following criteria:

  • Under 50 employees
  • Revenue is $2 million or below
  • Has a public-facing business where the primary service delivery is face-to-face in King County
  • Has experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Has not received grant funds to purchase these items previously
  • Operates in the following industries
    • Retail and/or grocery
    • Tourism
    • Childcare facility
    • Personal services

To learn more, download the Stay Safe and Stay Open flyer. For additional resources, Business Health Trust has compiled a list of local PPE suppliers.

Get Fit at a Discount Through New Business Health Trust Partnership

Keeping members healthy and productive is our mission at Business Health Trust. In these uncertain and stressful times, that means we are continually adapting and enhancing our resources to better serve our employers and their employees.

As we head into a holiday season that is guaranteed to be like no other, Business Health Trust (BHT) wants to help motivate our members to make time for exercise through a new partnership with Fitness Together. With locations in Kirkland, Mercer Island and Madison Park, Fitness Together is offering the following services at a discounted rate to BHT members:

Personal Training (In-Person and Virtual)

One-on-one personal training with a certified personal trainer. Each session is tailored to your individual needs, taking into consideration medical history, movement history and goals. These sessions are offered virtually or at studio locations. BHT Member Cost: $75/session

Virtual Small-Group Training

30-minute virtual group classes led by degreed, certified trainers are offered several times per week. Join 10 to 15 other participants for a “boot camp”-style workout with exercise progressions to meet the needs and fitness levels of the group. BHT Member Cost: $10/session

Sign Up and Learn More

To sign up and for more information, please contact Steve Dempsey at stevedempsey@fitnesstogether.com or call 425-242-1782.

To share this resource, please download our flyer New Wellness Benefit from Fitness Together.

Learn more about Business Health Trust’s robust wellness benefits.

Virtual Care Appointment

BHT Introduces New Virtual Plus Plans Through Kaiser Permanente

With its focus on providing high-quality, affordable employee benefits, Business Health Trust is proud to announce the new Virtual Plus HMO plans available to members enrolled in medical through Kaiser Permanente.

Starting in 2021, the Business Health Trust Small-Group Program will include two new options that feature fully covered virtual care visits: Virtual Plus Silver and Virtual Plus Gold plans.

These unique plans are a good option for employees who want affordable care and the convenience of starting most care online. Available in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Kitsap and Thurston counties, the new Virtual Plus plans feature the following highlights:

  • Low monthly premiums.
  • No charge or referral needed for virtual care, first in-person primary care visit, and all preventive care.
  • Get virtual care through 24/7 Care Chat online messaging or nurse phone line, scheduled video visits and phone appointments, e-visits, or email for nonurgent questions.*
  • Virtual visits are with Kaiser Permanente doctors and clinicians — the same ones you’d find in our medical facilities.
  • Fill the first prescription for a new medication at an in-network pharmacy or mail order. Get most refills and maintenance medications through mail order. Delivery is free and usually takes 1 to 2 days.
  • Includes worldwide in-person emergency and urgent care coverage.
  • Care at Kaiser Permanente walk-in clinics is not considered urgent care and requires a referral in order to pay a lower out-of-pocket cost.

The Business Health Trust Small-Group Program is available to employers with up to 50 employees, offering scalable, competitive benefits for even the smallest companies. To learn more or to get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or fill out our Request a Quote form.

*When appropriate and available.

Video chat with male doctor

BHT Expands Virtual Care Access Through Premera Blue Cross in 2021

Business Health Trust (BHT) is making it even easier to visit with a doctor in 2021 with expanded access to virtual care for members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross.

Instead of planning your life around provider access, take advantage of this reimagined network that significantly increases access to primary and hard-to-get specialized care.

No matter where you are, you can get the right care quickly through the following integrated virtual care offerings for BHT members enrolled in medical through Premera:

  • 98point6: Text-based primary/urgent care from a doctor, 24/7.
  • Doctor on Demand: Video and phone-based primary/urgent care and mental health therapy.
  • Talkspace: Video and phone-based mental health therapy.
  • Boulder Care: Treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Video visits and messaging with a therapist.
  • Workit Health: Treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Live chat and video with a therapist.

Business Health Trust’s 17 different medical plan designs through Premera Blue Cross come with a variety of value‑added benefits, including embedded life/AD&D insurance and employee assistance program (EAP), which offers additional access to virtual counseling through BetterHelp.

To learn more or to get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or fill out our Request a Quote form.

Event: Value-Based Care Virtual Summit

Please consider joining this free virtual event from our partners at Washington Health Alliance:

Event: Value-Based Care Virtual Summit
Date: November 12, 2020
Time: 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Featuring keynote speaker Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, the free virtual Value-Based Care Summit will examine obstacles and barriers to change for all stakeholders, and actively promote and support a more rapid acceleration of value-based payment models across our state.

For more information and to register, visit the event site.

Introducing Wellness Wednesdays

Business Health Trust is more than your health insurance provider, we are a resource. That’s why we’re constantly looking for ways to add value to the benefit packages our members offer their employees – including our newest benefit: Wellness Wednesdays.

Every Wednesday at noon through the end of the year, Business Health Trust will host an online wellness class. We’ve worked with local providers to offer these classes exclusively for our members, and we’ve created the resources you need to promote this new benefit to your employees.

As the pandemic continues, and the weather changes, we can all use a little motivation to stay healthy. We hope you’ll share this resource with your employees, and even consider using these weekly wellness classes as a team-building exercise!

October Schedule

A huge thank you to Ian, from IanFitness who’s helping us kick off our new program on October 7 with his HIIT Bodyweight Workout.

  • 10/7 – HIIT Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 10/14 – Hatha Yoga with Fran Gallo
  • 10/21 – HIIT Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 10/28 – At-Home Ergonomic Advice & Stretches

November Schedule

  • 11/4 – Interval Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 11/11 – Hatha Yoga with Fran Gallo
  • 11/18 – Interval Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 11/25 – Holiday Week – No Class

December Schedule

  • 12/2 – Interval Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 12/9 – Hatha Yoga with Fran Gallo
  • 12/16 – Interval Bodyweight Workout with Ian Fitness
  • 12/23 – Holiday Week – No Class
  • 12/30 – Holiday Week – No Class

Visit our Wellness Wednesday page for class descriptions and resources for your employee communications, including a monthly calendar, class flyers and sample copy for emails.

Kaiser Permanente Keeps Members Informed as Flu Season Nears

Even though flu season doesn’t usually peak until December to February, this year Kaiser Permanente is urging its Business Health Trust members to get vaccinated before the end of October.

Kaiser Permanente’s updated Flu Q&A can get you up to speed on what’s new for the 2020-2021 flu season, but one of the biggest changes is that this year, flu shots are available by appointment only at in-network provider offices and in-network pharmacies.

More information will be shared at Kaiser Permanente’s next webinar in its COVID-19 series, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, October 5, 2020, on “What to expect this flu season and supporting caregivers through the pandemic.” Topics will include:

  • COVID-19 updates and trends – New insights on the current state of the pandemic
  • What to expect this flu season – How COVID-19 compares to other pandemics and outbreaks, and why flu prevention matters more than ever
  • Supporting caregivers through the pandemic – The additional challenges faced by employees who are also caregivers, and how you can help make things easier

Learn more about how you can protect yourself and others by getting a flu shot in this Kaiser Permanente Flu Shot flyer that can be posted in your office, home or other communal space.