Building a Health and Wellness Program for Meriwether County

Corporate Health Partners participation-based health and wellness program reduces local government’s annual healthcare costs by $130K 

health and wellness program in meriwether county


In 2011, Meriwether County offered health fairs, education sessions, and benefit plans to its employees. Funding was also offered by the Association of City and County Government to allocate for employee health and wellness-oriented expenses. 

Although some form of worksite wellness existed, sub-optimal participation, high absenteeism, and rising healthcare costs made it obvious to Meriwether’s leadership that more was needed. The top three employee health concerns were: obesity, stress, and diabetes. 

Meriwether’s Board of Commissioners, finance & HR leaders, and department heads unanimously agreed that a better solution was worth exploring, so they approached Corporate Health Partners.


Key Stats: 

• Located in Greenville, GA• 130 eligible employees with 96% participation in the health and wellness program • Average age of population is 43.6 with 59.7% male and 40.3% female 

Departments Served (8 locations): 

Public Safety; Sheriff’s Department; Emergency-911; Public Works; Animal Control; Tax Assessors & Commissioners; Building & Zoning; Elections; Magistrate, Superior, Probate Courts; County Administration 

Communities Served: 

Southwest, rural Georgia with a population that is 54.6% white and 35.5% black. Less than 25% have a post-secondary education. 


Meriwether’s human capital advisory firm, Shaw Hankins, introduced the concept of onsite health coaching, culture building, and success measurement as a means to alleviate the financial and absenteeism challenges. 

Meriwether County agreed to experiment with this idea and Corporate Health Partners was engaged to implement and manage a customized health and wellness program for Meriwether, based on: 

  • Participation-based program that introduced incentives that discounted premiums by $80/month for employees who participated 
  • Onsite health screenings 
  • One-on-one health coaching sessions with a certified, compassionate wellness coach
  • Worksite wellness challenges, designed to address common health issues 
  • Healthy Break education sessions 
  • Use of HealthyTrax program for screening, tracking, and reminders 
  • Wellness Committee with representation from eight departments 
  • Cohort studies and trending analysis to measure risk migration 


Data sources 

• Healthcare cost trends• Cohort analysis and trending from 2011 to YTD 2016

• Participation statistics (health coaching, challenges) • Participant survey results and testimonials 

Representative results 

• Improved healthcare claim cost trend 2011-2014

• No premium increases from 2011–2014• $130K in healthcare cost reduction in 2015• 96% employee health and wellness program participation 

  • 95%+ participation in health coaching and 75% in challenges
  •  1000+ follow-up health coaching sessions offered during the year 


A detailed review and analysis of trends involving the same group of employees, year over year 

  • High-risk group has remained flat 
  • The moderate-risk group decreased by 36% 
  • The low-risk group doubled from 2011–2016 YTD
  • Risk Factors 

o Elevated risk factors dropped from 3.1 to 2.7 (per person) 

o 53.7% lost weight or remained stableo 42.6% reduced their BMIo 187.5% increase in rate of normal blood pressure 


Meriwether’s success with the health and wellness program is: 

  • Leadership’s belief that employee health and wellness can lower healthcare costs and that high frequency of health coaching can impact behavior 
  • An insurance brokerage, Shaw Hankins, believes in the power of onsite health and wellness programs. They had the courage to introduce this concept to Meriwether leadership in 2011.
  • Organizational commitment to creating a healthier environment (work gardens, 24/7exercise facility, etc.) 
  • Quantitative means to measure trends and success against Meriwether’s goals. 
  • An onsite wellness coach with the experience, compassion, and discipline to empower, inspire, and hold employees accountable.
  • Commitment to ongoing program improvement, pursuing Healthy Employer awards, introducing peer mentoring, and more.

Corporate Health Partner’s wellness coach helped one employee lose 30 lbs. and maintain it! 

A long-term 20-year smoker finally quit smoking after four years of trying – and has not gone back after 6 months!


Six years ago, our health insurance premiums were at an all-time high. Many insurance carriers refused to provide quotes due to our claim volume. After partnering with Corporate Health Partners, our wellness coachdeveloped a level of trust with employees through one-on-one meetings. Health challenges were offered which increased motivation and more employees scheduled visits with their primary care physician to discuss issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This helped to reduce healthcare costs. I encourage other counties and cities to take a look at their insurance rates, absenteeism, and overall new hire incentives. A good wellness program will offer savings in many areas and give employees a great opportunity to better themselves. 

– Beverly Thomas, Meriwether County Clerk 

The Biggest Winner Challenge motivated me to get serious about weight loss and exercise. I found ways to exercise at home without any special equipment. I am confident I can succeed at losing weight. I feel so much better and discovered that eating healthier is not more expensive.

– Meriwether County employee 


Engagement Health Group