"Sondra inspired our employees to get healthy"

(Providence, RI, 3.10.2011)

Tony Rodrigues, owner of the Pawtucket-based photofinishing company Printmakers, Inc., is dedicated to keeping his employees healthy. To tell his story about how Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has helped improve his employees' health, Tony and his son, Nick, are featured in a television commercial.

As the owner of Printmakers (www.printmakersinc.com), a privately-run business for 20 years, Tony thinks of his employees–or "co-workers," as Tony prefers–as family. This is one of the big reasons why his company pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums for all employees. As part of his commitment to the health of his associates, Tony and Nick worked with BCBSRI wellness coordinator Sondra Watrous to enroll their company in the BCBSRI Small Group Good Health Benefit (GHB) program, which helps workers and their dependents prevent illness and improve their health.

"Our wellness coordinator, Sondra, helped our family and co-workers get healthy by developing a custom program that focuses on areas such as stress management and portion control," said Nick. "She also helped us start a walking program in which 85 percent of our employees participate."

Tony added, "Sondra inspired many of our employees, myself included, to get healthy. With Blue Cross being a local company, Sondra is able to come into our office on a regular basis and meet with our employees face-to-face to talk about how to improve their health. As a small, local business, that was really important to us."

Tony and Nick Rodrigues are two of a select few Rhode Islanders being featured in a statewide BCBSRI television advertising campaign. Their story is an example of a small business enrolled in the Small Group GHB program, which provides support and resources so members can effectively manage a wide range of lifestyle needs and medical conditions. Some of these include stress management, exercise, nutrition and weight management. Programs are offered through on-site classes, online management tools, self-directed programs, individualized consultations, to name a few. As an example of the Small Group GHB program's success, Tony lost 30 pounds.

"It's been a pleasure to work with Tony and Nick to help them create a work environment that fosters leading a healthy lifestyle," said Sondra Watrous, wellness coordinator for BCBSRI. "It's great to see the reception of the Good Health Benefit program by so many of their employees, and I'm proud to be involved with their effort."

"Healthy employees are critical to the success of any small business, which is why we developed our Small Group Good Health Benefit program," said Corey McCarty, director of strategic marketing and product innovation for BCBSRI. "It is specifically designed to help small businesses establish programs to prevent illness while improving overall well being. This will not only help to reduce absenteeism thus improving productivity but help to moderate healthcare costs across the state. It's a ‘win/win' for everybody."

The television advertisement featuring Tony and Nick is currently running and can be seen on network and cable TV stations.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.comand follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.

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