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Diving Deeper Into the Affordable Care Act

The article by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, FAAP, on components of the Affordable Care Act was informative and valuable [“10 Things Fitness Pros Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act,” November–December 2014]. A few additional considerations for fitness professionals entail working with physicians and insurance providers.

While the tips on obtaining physician referrals may work well with independent medical providers, many physicians are now employed by healthcare systems. This means that contacting an individual provider may be less effective than outreaching to clinic managers or others in leadership, such as a primary-care department leader. Connecting with groups of physicians could lead to greater likelihood of developing a professional relationship.

Regarding insurance providers, most carriers have a health promotion staff that works with both fully insured and self-funded employers to plan, develop, implement and evaluate workplace wellness programs. Since physical activity is an integral component of a comprehensive, tailored wellness strategy, fitness professionals have significant potential to provide exercise programs to many workplace population groups through an insurance company’s programs.

When contacting an insurance company, ask for those who work directly with employer-sponsored wellness programs. Some insurers have only a “wellness sales” staff [that may] lack health promotion education and experience, and therefore would benefit by an association with professionals who could provide services and who could increase their knowledge of what the fitness profession can offer to their clients. Other insurers employ health promotion professionals [with] degrees that often do not include fitness training. They do the strategic planning (with the goal of remaining ACA and ADA compliant), and then contract with instructors for program components.

While it is not necessary to have expertise in all areas of health and wellness, it is advantageous for all to collaborate in our
shared goal to help people find ways to improve their overall quality of life!

Lisa Elsinger, PhD
Manager, Prevention & Health Promotion, Dean Health Plan Adjunct Professor, University of
Wisconsin, Madison

Mind-Body Integrative Programming

Editor’s note: In our November–December Mind-Body-Spirit News column, the Question of the Month hit the mark with many of you. We asked, “Have you or has the facility where you work offered a program that integrates mind-body exercise or mindfulness with eating issues or with body image?” Read on to learn about the creative programs your fitness colleagues are trying.

As a mind-body specialist, yoga instructor, health coach, group fitness instructor and personal trainer (ACE certified and an IDEA master trainer), I have combined these skills with my training and experience as a TEP (trainer-educator-practitioner of group psychotherapy, psychodrama and sociometry) to address issues related to eating disorders and body image in a special 2-hour workshop for women, “Learn to Love Your Body thru Yoga,” offered at the Gogo Guru Yoga studio in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Combining psychoeducation—on how yoga principles, yamas and niyamas apply to self-care of the body as a temple of spirit—with poetry, yoga practice and action methods has garnered responses such as, “This took my eating disorder recovery to a deeper level” and “ I appreciate my body in a new way.”

More about the topic appears in the book that I coauthored with Karen Carnabucci, Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods— Beyond the Silence and the Fury.

Linda Ciotola, MEd, CHES (ret.), TEP Ellicott City, Maryland

I have developed a program that integrates mindfulness and physical activity as a means to achieve health and well-being without focusing on weight loss. As a result of my years of working with residential weight loss programs (I served as fitness director for Duke Diet & Fitness Center, Pritikin Longevity Center and Structure House) and becoming disillusioned with the numbers of clients who would lose weight successfully only to gain it all back, I felt strongly that there had to be a better way.

My concept is called A New BMI: Body Mind Intelligence. I have written an 8-week course called “Body Mind Intentions.” Last spring, I collaborated with a psychologist and offered “Body Mind Intensive” to a small group of women who struggled with body weight and image. [The program] combined group therapy and teaching mindfulness skills along with encouraging intuitive physical activity. We also incorporated working with horses as a way to become more connected to the body. I am very excited about A New BMI. Isn’t it time we stopped measuring our self-worth by a number on the scale? Instead of focusing on weight loss, A New BMI says, “Move your body; quiet your mind.”

Peggy Norwood Stella, MA Equessence LLC

I manage the wellness center at the Palm Beach Gardens campus of Palm Beach State College in South Florida. Our center is one of four PBSC campuses with wellness centers, and we use many different techniques to attract students to our services. One successful method has been to host events promoting health and wellness in high-traffic areas on campus. Examples include a student wellness fair in our centrally located outdoor pavilion and an observance of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout with a “Blow Bubbles, Not Smoke” campaign outside of the student center.

We also offer unique student-driven programs; for example, a “Wall of Fame,” which encourages healthy competition in fitness events such as a 1-mile run, maximum pull-ups/push-ups and longest headstand. Partnering with our student activities and intramural sports departments allows us to better reach a large number of students and to cross-market among like-minded students. In addition, we attract students to programs through word of mouth and social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. To see what we’re up to, go to www.PalmBeachState.edu/WellnessCenter.

Jennifer Evans,
Wellness Center Coordinator
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

IDEA Website Is a Multipurpose Business Tool

I love your website. It’s been so helpful in getting my business up and running. Not only with leads but as a great source of information [for] my social media posts!

Michelle Kaczorowski
Owner/Personal Trainer, TNT Dynamite Fitness
Ramsey, New Jersey

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