Independent Health recognized as American Heart As

Independent Health recognized as American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 13, 2014) – Independent Health has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association (AHA) for embracing the health and wellness of employees.

The Fit-Friendly Worksites program is designed to be a catalyst for positive change in business by recognizing employers who champion the health of their employees. Independent Health received Platinum-Level status, the highest possible designation, for promoting a culture of wellness in the workplace, embracing at least nine criteria in physical activity, nutrition and culture outlined by the AHA, offering employees physical activity support, increasing the number of healthy eating options and demonstrating measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness initiatives.

“We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Independent Health. “At Independent Health, we believe it’s critical to foster a culture of health that emphasizes and supports wellness through educating and empowering employees to lead healthy lifestyles. As a result, our employees are better equipped to achieve our goals of helping our members and the community to be healthier.”

Independent Health’s Wellness Department encourages many healthy behaviors -- including obtaining preventive screenings, participating in physical activities and developing better eating habits -- through its comprehensive HealthyMe worksite wellness program and FitWorks online tool that allows employees to track points they earn for meeting healthy goals. Employees who reach 250 or more points are eligible for prizes throughout the year. In 2013, 89 percent of employees earned at least 250 points in FitWorks. Additionally, those who complete an annual well-being assessment receive a discount on their health insurance contributions.

According to the AHA, American employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of health care expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and those numbers are rising. Many American adults spend most of their waking hours at sedentary jobs. Their lack of regular physical activity raises their risk for a host of medical problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Employers face $12.7 billion in annual medical expenses due to obesity alone. The American Heart Association is working to change corporate cultures by motivating employees to start walking, which has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program, visit

Headquartered in Buffalo, Independent Health began operations in 1980 and has consistently been rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction. Independent Health’s comprehensive portfolio of product and service offerings include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, consumer-directed plans, coverage for self-funded employers, plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. Combined, the company provides health benefits and services to nearly 375,000 individuals in Western New York and throughout the country. For more information, visit Independent Health’s website at