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Free health perks help wellness, recruiting

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Full-time employees of Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network don’t pay for health insurance. Plus, the organization hands them a fistful of “wellness dollars”—$700 to be exact—to spend on anything from gym memberships to massage therapy. Not only does the program help current employees, but also it has improved recruiting.

The Allentown, Pa.-based network pushes its 9,000-plus employees to take care of themselves by paying for preventive health care. Employees may spend their wellness dollars on fitness, weight reduction, stress reduction or education.

Other examples of network-approved expenditures: massage therapy, yoga classes, and consultations with nutritionists.

Employees don’t have to venture far from the workplace for a fitness fix. The organization offers three on-site gyms that are open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and welcome family members, says Mary Kay Grim, senior VP for HR.

Plus, workers may partake of the network’s educational programs and counseling for prenatal care, lowering cholesterol and improving nutrition. Any employee who participates in a confidential, online health assessment gets an extra $25 to spend on wellness.

The organization pays about $350,000 per year for wellness benefits.

The approach is improving more than workers’ health. As the largest employer in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, 40% of the network’s new hires come from employee referrals.

Contact: Mary Kay Grim, senior VP for HR, at

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