For Indiana non-profit Bosma Enterprises, an unwavering mission to help employees lead healthier lives

For more than 100 years, Bosma Enterprises has led the way in fulfilling its mission to support and serve Indiana’s citizens who are blind and visually impaired, serving nearly a thousand clients each year. Programs range from counseling and support to job training and skills development to help adults stay self-sufficient. It also operates a production, warehouse and fulfillment business that provides employment opportunities for employees with vision loss that may not otherwise be available because they face a 70-percent unemployment rate.

And although its workforce is unique – more than half of its employees experience low vision, the challenges that Bosma faces as a healthcare benefits provider are familiar to many employers: Rising healthcare costs, the increasing prevalence and cost impacts of chronic conditions such as diabetes and the need to help employees gain better access to more convenient healthcare.

Addressing cost by giving employees more

To help counteract these factors, Bosma selected OurHealth as its near-site primary clinic provider for medical plan members. Through the partnership, employees and dependents can access primary care and other healthcare services via OurHealth’s network of seven Indianapolis-area MyClinics, including MyClinic @ Traders Point, which is only about 10 minutes from Bosma Enterprises headquarters on Indianapolis’ northwest side.

 

Image courtesy of Bosma Enterprises.
“The partnership with OurHealth is a perfect example of where we can do something that is going to make it easier for our employees to get services and maintain their health,” Matlock says.

 

“We felt it might help us address the rising healthcare costs that we were experiencing as everybody else is,” says Senior Benefits Manager Joseph Matlock. “We want to help our employees maintain their health in any way we can. The other part of it was convenience and just how much easier is it if you are not feeling well when there’s a near-site clinic that you can just run to during the day versus having to get an appointment then set up your transportation for three or four days later, or having to find somebody to take you to the clinic. We felt it was a benefit we can add as far as the things that we offer to show our employees that we value them.”

The accessibility of a primary care provider where employees could receive help managing and reducing the impact of chronic conditions such as diabetes – a leading cause of blindness and vision loss – were also important factors, Matlock says.

More than just convenient healthcare

Not only does Bosma help employees access convenient healthcare, but they also help ensure employees make it to their appointments as transportation can be especially challenging for people with low vision or blindness. When and if an employee schedules a clinic appointment during work hours, Bosma provides free transportation to the clinic, helping employees keep their appointment and stay on track with preventive healthcare. The firm also encourages healthy behaviors with a wellness incentive program that encourages regular preventive primary care, vision and dental care check-ups and other amenities, including a recently opened onsite fitness center.

“We just think that as a company who cares about their employees, we want to provide the best opportunities,” Matlock says. “The partnership with OurHealth is a perfect example of where we can do something that is going to make it easier for our employees to get services and maintain their health.”

OurHealth Patient Success: Amy’s Story

Amy Fenn of Indianapolis was in a car accident in 2015 that caused her to have severe nerve pain and migraine-like headaches.

“I’ve been diagnosed with what they call occipital neuralgia,” she says.

The National Institutes of Health describes occipital neuralgia as a “distinct type of headache characterized by piercing, throbbing or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the ears.”

The pain was unrelenting, and at times so intense it caused Amy to miss work. Sometimes she worked in the dark just to minimize the pain.

“When I get the headaches, you can’t eat, you can’t drink, you feel nauseous and sometimes you get sick,” she says. “I’ve been given every pain medication under the sun. It helps for a little bit and then the pain comes back the same, if not worse.”

Amy’s primary care doctor had recently retired so she scheduled an appointment at MyClinic @ Plainfield, which she could access through her employer benefits with the Indianapolis Airport Authority. That’s when she first met Brooke Curry, a physician’s assistant at OurHealth.

“It’s funny because right before I went in to see her, I had just read an article about how duloxetine—which is a generic for Cymbalta, was being used for nerve pain, which is what I have, and which is what ends up causing my headaches.”

Curry had also read how duloxetine is being used to treat nerve pain, and asked Fenn if she’d be willing to try it out.

“Honestly, I was willing to try anything,” Amy says. “I don’t think anybody has any idea how bad it hurts.”

Amy started taking the medication, and after getting the dosage right, she says her pain diminished significantly.

“It hasn’t completely taken the pain away, but I can say I’ve had better success with this medication over the last few months than I have with any medication,” Fenn says. “It just seems to be working.”

Amy says she’s grateful for the care she received from Brooke and feels it made a substantial difference in improving her quality of life.

“Brooke actually sat down and talked to me,” Amy says. “She wanted to learn about the headaches and what I’d been taking prior to coming to see her. I want to say she spent at least 45 minutes to an hour with me on that first visit. She’s awesome and I can’t thank her enough.”

-by Mike LaFollette

OurHealth Patient Success: Mark’s Story

Officer Mark Parrott’s beat with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department keeps him in top physical shape, so he knew something was wrong when his health took a dramatic turn.

“I started having increased thirst, increased urination and I noticed weight loss after that,” Parrott says. “It progressed for almost a week and I lost close to 10 pounds.”

Parrott could access OurHealth’s MyClinic network with no co-pay through his employer benefits with the City of Charlotte, so he scheduled an appointment at MyClinic @ Wilkinson Blvd.

Parrott’s symptoms were common indicators for diabetes, so the clinic staff performed a hemoglobin A1c test to check his blood sugar. The results were shocking — his A1c was upwards of 11. An A1c of 6.5 and above indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Parrott was initially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

His provider started him on oral medication, and Parrott began checking his blood sugar daily, but his symptoms didn’t improve much. On a return visit, his provider recommended he meet with Lynn Campbell, a Certified Diabetes Educator with OurHealth.

After their first meeting together, Campbell recommended that Parrott be referred to Dr. Charles Upchurch, a Charlotte-based endocrinologist, where further testing confirmed that Parrott actually had Type 1 diabetes.

“He was awesome and got me on the path that I needed to be on for medication and checking my blood sugar,” Parrott says. “He wanted me to remain meeting with the diabetes educator, so I stuck with Lynn at OurHealth.”

Getting Back on Track

Campbell helped Parrott develop his diabetes self-management skills, which included taking insulin shots with each meal and monitoring his carb intake to control his blood sugar. Within a few days, he started to feel better, and after a few weeks he returned to his normal weight, but his A1c still hovered around 9.

That’s when Parrott saw an ad for the FreeStyle Libre Sensor, a device that attaches to the skin and monitors blood glucose 24/7. He mentioned the device to Dr. Upchurch and Campbell, and with their blessing, began using the Libre Sensor.

“That has helped a lot with me being able to provide accurate numbers to Lynn because before I was just pricking my finger 6 to 8 times a day, and it might have been during a low period or a high period,” Parrott says.

Within a few weeks of using the Libre Sensor, Parrott says his A1c dropped to 6.5. “The doctor thought that was excellent for only having diabetes for a little over a year,” he says.

Today, Parrott says he feels as good as he did before the symptoms began, and his only issue now involves the occasional dizziness that occurs when his blood sugar level drops. When he’s on patrol, Campbell suggested Parrott keep fast-acting glucose tablets on hand to bring his blood sugar back up.

“I’ve actually had to use them a number of times because sometimes it gets so low and you have nothing available to you to bring it up,” he says.

Parrott says he feels grateful to have the clinic benefit and wonders how long he would have waited for treatment if he didn’t have the option.

“In all honestly, I would have waited until I found a doctor available to take me if it had not been for the fact that OurHealth has no co-pay for me.”

-by Mike LaFollette

Father of 6 Finds New Hope After Tragedy

Rick Huffman says he was overweight for most of his life. He noticed when people stared at him, and found comfort hiding behind baggy clothes.

The father of six works at CNO Financial in Indiana. Huffman also serves as Worship Director at his church, United Family Wesleyan, where he sings and plays keyboards and guitar. Between church and his kids’ sports, the Huffman’s would often turn to fast food.

“We were just kind of couch potatoes,” Huffman says. “You know, watching TV and ordering pizza.”

In 2007, Huffman experienced the unthinkable: His daughter died in a tragic accident. Huffman says his focus turned to comforting his family through the pain. But he found comfort in food.

“During this time, I never really weighed myself because, to be frank, I just didn’t care,” Huffman says.

Over the next few years, Huffman says he continued to eat aimlessly and gain weight. He reached 360 pounds and his waist grew to a size 44.

In 2012, CNO turned to OurHealth to provide primary care and wellness services for its employees. Huffman hadn’t seen a doctor in several years, but he decided to participate in the company’s wellness incentive program, which rewards employees who complete an annual biometric screening. His results were a stark wake-up call.

“I found out my blood pressure was high and my cholesterol was high and I was starting to develop a risk for heart disease,” Huffman says.

He began taking prescribed medication for hypertension and high cholesterol, and tried to lose weight, but he says he was mostly unsuccessful.

“It wasn’t until August 2016 when my eyes where really opened for the first time,” Huffman says. “My wife was told that due to her arthritis, if she didn’t start losing weight that she wouldn’t be able to walk later in life.”

His kids were also gaining weight, and Huffman says he realized his choices had impacted his family’s health, too.

“I needed to show my family that it wasn’t too late for us, that we could make these changes and we can change our lifestyle for the better,” he says.

A second chance

CNO’s incentive program includes free health coaching for employees who don’t meet healthy biometric targets, so Huffman decided to give it a shot and started meeting with Keena Sowers-Zinn, a health coach with OurHealth.

“She helped me to learn how to eat healthier,” Huffman says.  “I was never taught how to pick the right kind of food. She’s been the guiding light there to help me make that change.”

Huffman says Sowers-Zinn would ask him to set monthly goals. To cut back on eating out, she challenged him to buy healthy foods and eat home-cooked meals three times per week. At the end of each month, he’d report back to Zinn.

“The accountability was a big factor,” he says. “Just having that support gave me confidence I didn’t know I had. And when I did make progress, having that praise and that reassurance that you can keep going was a big help.”

Huffman says his family grilled a lot of chicken, and Sowers-Zinn recommended they always keep vegetables on hand for when the kids wanted a snack.

With his newfound confidence, Huffman started exercising at CNO’s onsite gym, eventually working his way up to 4 to 5 times per week.

Small steps, big results

Huffman admits their lifestyle changes weren’t always easy, but they stuck with it—as a family—and the results were life-changing.

“All of my children have lost weight,” he says. “We eat at home more often—we hardly ever eat out. We’re walking more and getting more activity.”

Huffman says he’s lost more than 100 pounds and trimmed his waist size by nearly 12 inches. And because he lost weight, his blood pressure and cholesterol have become manageable without medication.

“I really didn’t realize how bad I did feel until I started feeling better,” he says. “I knew I was overweight, but I didn’t think I had a big problem because I was healthy enough to do things with my kids.”

Huffman says he’s maintained his 100-pound weight loss for almost two years. But what’s most impressive is the Huffman family has lost a combined 300 pounds.

-Story by Mike LaFollette

Global auto manufacturer partners with OurHealth to improve employee quality of life

KYB Americas is the world’s largest supplier of OEM shocks and struts and considers Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi as its main customers. KYB also has a huge aftermarket business supplying automotive parts to retailers like Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly’s.

At the company’s 500,000-square-foot operation just south of Indianapolis in Franklin, Ind., more than 700 associates produce as many as 5,000 parts every day. Recruiting and retaining hard-working assemblymen and women and machinists is critical to maintaining their output, and company leadership saw the addition of an onsite primary care clinic as a great way to retain their edge on a global playing field. Read more

For Family-owned Bank, Giving Employees More is Giving Back

For Centier Bank, the choice to give its associates primary care services via an onsite clinic came down to one reason: Family.

Founded in 1895, Centier is Indiana’s largest, private family-owned financial institution and the idea of family permeates every aspect of the organization’s culture, says Chrisanne Christ, Senior Partner in Human Resource Development.

That culture has earned the Merrillville, Ind.-based bank the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s “Best Places to Work” designation 12 years in a row, as well as fierce loyalty from its employees, many of whom spend professional careers spanning decades working for Centier.

Christ says that familial independence and strong focus on the best interest of its employees were key factors in bringing onsite healthcare to the organization more than five years ago. “We’re not strictly about the bottom line,” Christ says. “We have to make a profit of course – we have to be competitive, we have to be strategic – but we always make sure our decisions are right for our associates.”

Christ says she became aware of the option of onsite healthcare more than a decade ago. “What was appealing about it was the convenience of bringing healthcare to you versus having to make an appointment,” she says. “[When you make an appointment], then you go wait in the doctor’s office, then once you get seen, you have to get a prescription filled somewhere else – you would have to take a half to whole day off just to go the doctor, and that’s not even if you’re sick.

Chrisanne Christ, Centier Bank

“Making healthcare convenient means busy people will more readily take advantage of it.  Then add that it’s free, and it becomes a superior, unique benefit.”

Centier utilizes an OurHealth onsite clinic at its Merrillville headquarters, OurClinic @ Centier, providing accessible primary care to all of its full and part time employees. It saw initial success engaging employees with these services, so then partnered with other like-minded local employers to build a second OurHealth Clinic in nearby Valparaiso, Ind. to be shared amongst all of their employees. Most recently, after successfully expanding its presence in the Indianapolis metro area, it provided associates with access to care providers at OurHealth’s Indianapolis network of seven MyClinic locations.

And it’s not just employees or dependents on the health plan. “We made it available to every single aassociate – everyone gets to use it so it truly becomes an associate benefit,” she says. “We didn’t want any associate to not have it.”

That benefit was an ideal fit for Centier Bank for a number of other reasons, too, Christ says:

  • A Like-minded Partner: “When we do business, it’s much more effective to work with a like-minded partner, with a culture that’s similar to ours. When we met with Jeff Wells and Ben Evans (OurHealth’s co-founders), they were very sincere about why they were building the business – it wasn’t just about making money,” Christ says. “If you’re doing business the right way, that should be a byproduct.
  • Network Independence – Christ also notes that OurHealth’s network-neutral positioning and independence as a healthcare provider was an advantage compared to clinic providers from larger provider groups or hospital systems who may be incented to act as an exclusive referral source. “I didn’t want our associates to feel like they were just going to be referred into a particular system automatically,” Christ says. “I liked that independence.”
  • Stronger, Longer-term Provider-Patient Relationships – Christ says the appeal of OurHealth’s clinic model included the deeper relationships a provider can establish with their patients. “The model is all about getting to know the patient and their health,” she says. “By having healthcare that’s available when you need it, and having longer appointments, they’re really getting to know you as a patient.”

 The Results

“The No. 1 reinforcement that we made the right decision are the testimonials,” Christ says. She mentions that from preventing the risk of stroke or heart attacks to early detection of cancer, the stories she hears from associates run the gamut. “If had a nickel for every time someone said, ‘If the clinic hadn’t been there…’ – hearing those stories is all we need.”

Mindful Eating Helps OurHealth Employee Reverse Diabetes

Dave Smith of Indianapolis calls himself a gamer. In the past, a typical weekend for Dave often meant hours in front of the TV, controller in hand, junk food by his side and a never-ending supply of Mountain Dew and Red Bull.

“I really never paid a lot of attention to my healthcare as well as I should have,” says Dave, a database administrator at OurHealth. “I’m a Midwestern guy. I love my tenderloins and lots and lots of terrible foods.”

But Dave was starting to think about his health. His father had been diagnosed with diabetes a few years prior and warned Dave to be on the lookout. And, in 2016, Dave fell and suffered a tibial plateau fracture that required surgery and a titanium plate being inserted into his leg. During recovery, he developed blood clots and was laid up for six months with little to no activity, leading to a 50-pound weight gain.

In the spring of 2017, Dave scheduled a biometric screening offered as part of OurHealth’s wellness incentive program, including a hemoglobin A1c test. The results showed his blood glucose A1c measured 7.2, revealing he had Type 2 diabetes. A hemoglobin A1c test correlates to a patient’s blood sugar over the previous 90 days. A reading above 6.5 indicates a diagnosis of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“When I got my diagnosis, I thought, ‘This will not stand. I’ve got to take care of this.’”

Dave didn’t waste any time. He went home that night and threw away all the junk food in his house.

“I knew I didn’t have the willpower to not eat it,” he says. “Because, that’s what I did—Hostess cakes, chips, no portion control. I had to learn to break that habit.”

Dave had access to a health coach and a Certified Diabetes Educator through his OurHealth benefits, so he began meeting with them regularly, and together they created a plan to improve his diet, increase his activity and ultimately reduce is A1c.

Dave Smith, OurHealth

Dave Smith has lost 35 pounds since changing his diet. His ultimate goal is to lose another 15.

Dave says the main goal—and most challenging—was improving his eating habits. He began eating at regular times and portioning out his food, and instead of eliminating all his favorite foods, he switched to healthier alternatives that were low in carbs, sugar and fat.

To replace the sugary soda, Dave says he tried just about every sugar-free soda on the planet until he found one (Zevia) that didn’t taste disgusting. For those hours-long gaming marathons, he fueled up with sugar-free Red Bull.

“It’s a lot of minor things like switching from white potatoes to russets and reds because they have less sugar and less actionable carbs in them,” he says. “Boneless, skinless chicken is what I subside on. But I’m very fortunate because my roommate is a former professional chef. He can do amazing things with boneless, skinless chicken.”

Dave’s leg injury left him with permanent loss of flexibility, limiting his exercise options. He focused on yoga and walking at least 3,000 steps per day, including taking strolls at lunch and venturing out around the neighborhood with his dogs.

By the following spring, Dave says his lifestyle changes began to pay off. OurHealth’s 2018 incentive program had just begun so Dave scheduled his annual biometric screening at MyClinic @ 96th St. in Indianapolis.

“When I got my most recent labs for our new incentives, my A1c was 5.4, which is non-diabetic,” he says. “[OurHealth physician] Dr. Pallekonda told me if I get two more in a row out of the diabetic range—the diagnosis comes off my chart.”

Dave credits his success to working with the clinic staff and the incentive program at OurHealth, which contributes money to an employee’s health savings account if they complete a biometric screening and other healthy activities.

“The staff at the clinic and the diabetes educators and health coaches have all been instrumental to me to do this,” he says. “For one, I wouldn’t have known that I needed to do it, and the support and encouragement I received made a big difference.”

Dave says he feels fortunate that he never hit any major roadblocks along the way and believes he was successful because he focused on small, attainable goals that added up to a larger cause.

“It’s a lot easier when you break these things down into smaller chunks,” he says. “You also get that ongoing sense of achievement. It’s like in a video game. You beat all the mini bosses on the way to the big boss. You know, it’s like, ‘Hey, I just took out the boss’s lieutenant. I’m ready to fight the big fight.’”

Today, Dave says he has more energy and no longer feels sluggish in the afternoon. He’s sleeping better and doesn’t drink as much caffeine. He’s shed 35 of the 50 pounds he gained after his surgery, and he’s committed to maintaining a healthy diet and losing the remaining 15 pounds.

“It’s funny because now even ketchup tastes way too sweet,” he says. “Now I’m like, ‘I don’t want that. That’s awful.’ I’m trying to eat more whole foods and more vegetables—I had no idea I like asparagus.”

Ultimately, Dave says it was the biometric screening that was the catalyst for his health transformation.

“That one lab result literally changed my life,” he says. “I’m glad I had the screening. One blood draw, and the results were life-altering. If I didn’t have the clinic benefit and the incentive program, I’d probably still be where I was—over 300 pounds and sluggish and unhealthy.”

Health Coaching Leads to 80-Pound Weight Loss

By Mike LaFollette

For years, Mike Hartle put his body through the ringer. As a welder for BraunAbility, he’s used to 10-hour days working with his hands.

With little time to spare, Hartle would often grab lunch from the vending machines at work. By late 2017, he says he tipped the scales at 330 pounds.

“I was consuming 4,300 to 4,800 calories a day, and that’s how I got so large so quick,” he says. “A lot of that was just careless eating out of the work vending machines.”

Hartle also works a side gig in the carnival circuit, and his weight made it hard to keep up with the other performers.

“I was so unphysically fit and unhealthy that I was starting to get injuries,” he says. “I just couldn’t perform, and I was just tired of being tired all the time. When you’re that large, just being on your feet 10 hours a day is a chore.”

Hartle knew he needed to get his weight under control, not just for himself, but also for his son.

“I’m a single father and my boy just turned 14,” he says. “I want to be healthy enough to take care of him and not worry something bad will happen to me. My mother never made it to 60. She was overweight her whole life. I thought, ‘If I don’t change now, I won’t either.”’

Hartle was ready to make that change. A friend persuaded him to try the Isagenix diet, a protein shake-based diet. At first, the weight seemed to melt away, but Hartle says he eventually hit a plateau.

“I hit 300 pounds and I was just kind of bouncing there between 290 and 300,” he says. “I wasn’t really sure if I was doing it right. I thought, ‘You know, I just need a little more advice. Someone with a little more experience to guide me.’’’

Hartle saw a flyer at work advertising free health coaching through his employer-sponsored OurHealth benefits and decided to give it a try.

He began meeting bimonthly with Connie Foerg a health coach at OurClinic @ Braun, an on-site clinic for Braun employees, spouses and dependents.

“If you talk to someone with experience they can help you filter out the bad ideas and bad information and tell you to keep doing what you’re doing on certain things and to stop doing others,” Hartle says. “That was really what I was looking for, and what I thought was helpful. Anybody who’s ever done the protein shake stuff knows you get burnt out pretty quickly.”

Foerg helped Hartle find healthier alternatives to foods he liked, and he started monitoring his calorie intake. At each meeting, Hartle says he’d weigh in to gauge his progress and Foerg would ask him about his eating habits. Hartle also began working out at the gym four times per week.

The combination of exercise and healthy eating worked and by the Spring of 2018, he’d shed an additional 50 pounds.

“Mike was determined to lose the weight and I feel like that was why he was successful,” Foerg says. “He had all the tools — he just needed a little help and accountability.”

Hartle agrees the accountability helped him stay on track.

“You can do stuff on your own motive, but when you’ve got to come in and check with somebody, you’re going to weigh in and explain why you gained weight or why you lost weight,” he says. “It’s the accountability. It’s easy to let yourself down but when you have somebody else who’s in your corner, you don’t want to let them down.”

Hartle says he’s happy with the progress, and his ultimate goal is to get below 240 pounds. His clothes now fit differently, or no longer fit at all. But best of all, he feels better.

“I have a lot more energy now, especially after I started working out,” he says. “I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the body aches. I feel more mobile, more energetic, just a lot healthier.”

Looking back, Hartle says he’s glad he changed his lifestyle, and hopes others will take advantage of the health coaching benefit.

“I encourage others to do it,” he says. “People just need to realize how easy it is to enroll and how nice the people are and not to be intimidated.”

Focus on Family Helps Detective Solve Health Problems

Detective Will Vasquez assumed his first OurHealth appointment would be routine. His primary care provider had recently left practice and he needed to refill a prescription for hypertension, so he scheduled a medication consultation at MyClinic @ PNC in Indianapolis.

But during that initial visit, Vasquez, a 16-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, says the clinic staff didn’t just hand him a prescription—they wanted to know why he was taking medication in the first place.

“I was impressed,” Vasquez says. “They didn’t just write a prescription and say, ‘we’ll see you later.’”

Vasquez told the clinic staff how he’d gained weight after a foot surgery a few years ago and had struggled to lose it. More importantly, he mentioned how a previous health screening had found he was at risk for diabetes.

Vasquez says the nurse decided to check his urine for sugar—a sign of diabetes, and when the test came back positive, she asked him to return to the clinic a few days later for a blood draw.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Vasquez says. “She sat me down after I did the blood draw and she said, ‘Well, you’ve got diabetes. Your A1c level is 8, which is in the diabetes range.’”

A hemoglobin A1c test correlates to a patient’s blood sugar over the previous 90 days. A reading above 6.5 indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“It was real gut punch because I’ve got a family and three kids at home,” Vasquez says. “I need to be healthy to see them graduate high school and get married and all that good stuff. That was a big reality check for me.”

While the news was disappointing, the nurse told Vasquez he could turn things around by making healthy lifestyle changes, and Vasquez says he was up for the challenge.

Getting Back on Track

Together, they quickly put an action plan in place, including updating his hypertension medication, and setting up regular meetings with Lauren Hutchens, senior wellness program manager for OurHealth, and Joanne Lewis, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), which were all included at no cost to Vasquez as a part of his employer’s OurHealth benefits.

“That helped me out—having the support system,” Vasquez says. “But the main driver was my family and wanting to be around for them for a lot longer.”

Hutchens and Lewis worked closely with Vasquez to improve his diet. “We explored what he had done in the past, what he was currently doing, and what his ultimate goals were for his health,” Hutchens says. “It was obvious from the beginning how much Det. Vasquez cared about his family and really wanted to get healthier.”

Vasquez says he cut out fast food, and when he did eat out, he’d check the restaurant’s menu in advance so he could make a healthy selection—and stick with it. He also started reading food labels, limited snacking to only fruit between meals, and found healthier substitutions for foods he loved, such as swapping in PopChips for regular potato chips. “They really opened my eyes on proper things to eat,” Vasquez says. I really took that stuff to heart.”

Vasquez also started exercising regularly, but admits it wasn’t always easy. “Sometimes I had to talk myself into exercising when I didn’t want to,” he says. To get more exercise while working a part-time security job, Vasquez started patrolling the grounds on foot instead of sitting idle in his squad car.

Vasquez says the hard work ultimately paid off. In a little more than 90 days, he reduced his blood pressure, and saw his A1c decrease from 8 to 5.5, which is considered a normal healthy measure. As an added bonus, he also lost more than 35 pounds.

“I feel a whole lot better,” Vasquez says. “It’s a lot easier for me to get up and go do something where as before I was always physically drained and didn’t want to do anything. The only drawback is that I’ve had to buy smaller pants.”

Lifestyle Changes Help Patient Take Control of Diabetes

Sue Booth says she started to notice some unusual health changes in the Spring of 2017. She felt tired all the time, she was constantly thirsty and was using the restroom frequently.

By June, Booth says her health became much worse. “It got so bad I was having difficulty seeing clearly and I began having blackouts,” Booth says.

One of those blackouts came unexpectedly while Booth was sitting in her chair at work. “Embarrassingly enough, it was the president of the company who found me from what looked like I was sleeping in my chair,” she says.

Booth says she knew something was wrong. She didn’t have a primary care physician at the time, but her OurHealth benefits had just started through her job at Wilhelm Construction in Indianapolis, so she made an appointment that afternoon at MyClinic @ Greenwood Springs.

“When I went in there, I was in very bad shape,” Booth says. Her symptoms – blurred vision, excessive thirst and frequent urination – are all common signs of diabetes. A blood test revealed Booth’s A1c level measured upwards of 13. The A1c test indicates a patient’s blood sugar over the previous 90 days. A reading above 6.5 indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The clinic staff suggested that Booth go to the ER that afternoon, but Booth decided to go home. To her surprise, she says a nurse checked on her over the weekend.

“It really touched me that she called just to see if I was OK because she was so concerned about me,” Booth says.

Booth began meeting weekly with the clinic staff. Together, they developed a plan designed to meet Booth’s health goals: Get her diabetes under control; lower her blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

“From the very first time I walked in there, I knew that they genuinely cared,” Booth says. “It wasn’t a matter of ‘this person is sick, let’s give her something to feel better.’ It was, ‘oh my gosh, this person is really sick. I’m really concerned about her and we’ve got to make this better.’”

The clinic nurse had Booth keep a journal of her blood sugar levels and at the end of the week they would go through each entry to gauge her progress. “She’d say, ‘Oh this one is really good. What did you do between this one and this one that caused the drastic change,’” Booth says.

A health coach gave Booth information on improving her diet. She cut out fast food, began counting carbs and cooking recipes she found on a website for diabetics. To get more exercise, Booth took walks around her neighborhood and worked out at the YMCA.

Booth says her lifestyle changes paid off, and over time she started to feel better. Her vision improved, and she felt comfortable driving again. She credits her health turnaround to the support and encouragement from the clinic staff.

“They call me their rockstar,” Booth says. “I think, if I am their rockstar, it’s only because they are my back-up band. I never would have gotten through this as well as I did in the time period that I did without them. I know that for a fact.”

Booth says that over a period of 15 months, she reduced her A1c level to 5.2, which falls below the prediabetic range; she lost significant weight and her cholesterol is now in a normal range for the first time in 20 years.

“It’s been a combination of persistence, diet and exercise, and paying attention to what they told me,” Booth says. “They never once steered me wrong. They never once told me to do something without explaining their position on it. I never felt preached to. They always made me feel like it was just about me.”