Ways to Wellness

Wawa brings doctor to employees; Sheetz breaks ground on "shwellness" center

WAWA & ALTOONA, Pa. -- Two major convenience retailers have taken two different approaches to achieving the same goal--employee wellness.

Wawa Inc. is testing a service for its employees that brings the doctor right to the parking lot, reported CBS.

"A tremendous number of our associates had had not seen a primary care doctor in years," Todd Lombardi, the director of compensation and benefits at the Wawa, Pa.-based chain, told the news outlet.

So a new Wawa pilot program, now at around 30 stores, has a physician making house calls. A Radnor, Pa.-based doctor, Rocklan Walker, sees patients in the parking lot in a converted Mercedes passenger van, Lombardi said.

"Many associates have told good stories about the positive outcomes that they've had as result of meeting with Dr. Walker, changes they've made to help improve their overall health," he said.

It's part of the employee wellness plan, said the report, so there's no cost to the workers. Lombardi said there is also a bottom-line benefit to keeping them healthy: "It is one of those wonderful intersections between doing something that's fantastic for the associates that also makes wonderful business sense for us."

Wawa operates more than 590 c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Separately, Sheetz Inc. has broken ground on its new 11,500-square-foot health and fitness center in Claysburg, Pa. (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).

The center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012, will be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified and include fitness center and a wellness center. It also will have a quarter-mile outdoor exercise track.

Sheetz Center for Shwellness reflects a national trend by companies to offer enhanced workplace benefits as part of efforts to help employees improve their health and manage health care cost, the company said.

The center will be managed through a partnership with Marathon Health. This allows the facility to have registered nurses to provide routine medical care, health risk assessments, biometrics screenings, wellness coaching and disease management for employees and their families.

"Sheetz has been voted by our employees as among the best places to work for more than a decade because we do everything we can to acknowledge their value and keep them happy in their jobs," said CEO Stan Sheetz. "The Center for 'Shwellness' is part of our culture of wellness, to give employees and their families the tools they need to achieve and maintain good health."

Sheetz says that the facility will also include a learning center with meeting rooms and video conference capabilities to support both onsite and remote education.

"It's easy to understand that anything we do to improve our employee's health, benefits everyone," he said. "But more importantly, by offering a comprehensive wellness program that includes disease education and screenings, we can help our employees who are at risk for diabetes and heart disease live healthier and longer lives."

Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz operates 412 locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

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