Church Brothers

New program gets to the ‘heart’ of employee wellness


You could say the problem was a familiar one for Church Brothers: Two forces were colliding, and the result was a big dent in the firm’s and employees’ health care costs. The forces? Rising health care costs and employees’ lack of engagement in their own health care. Church Brothers knew that if employees would pay more attention to their own well-being, costs would come down. What the employer didn’t know was how to spark a change in behavior. When FirstPerson reviewed the collision repair shop’s program, it identified these basic challenges:

  • Increasing health care costs
  • Employees not taking advantage of benefits
  • Expensive premiums
  • An employer unsure of what to do


In some ways, the solution FirstPerson proposed for Church Brothers might seem counter-intuitive: To decrease health care costs, get employees to consume more health care services. But Church Brothers knew that getting employees to engage in more preventive care could head off more serious – and costly – problems in the future. And one employee’s experience shows the value of this approach. After ignoring some troubling heart symptoms, a 54-year-old Church Brothers manager visited his physician as part of the Talk to Your Doc program, which rewards employees for getting regular check-ups. An “Oh, by the way …” conversation led to a series of tests, which revealed major blockage in two arteries. In short order, the manager had surgery, got stents placed into his arteries, and went home with a much better prognosis. The program that likely saved his life is just part of FirstPerson’s overall plan for Church Brothers, which also included:

  • A new wellness emphasis
  • A preventive-care education
  • Four annual campaigns to encourage preventive care
  • Higher employee engagement in health care
I did have symptoms out of the ordinary and instead of ignoring them, [Talk to Your Doc] caused me to pay attention. It was a good thing I did.

—Church Brothers manager who had a life-threatening arterial blockage discovered as a result of a Talk to Your Doc check-up.


While it’s certainly dramatic to point to a saved life as evidence of a program’s effectiveness, it’s perhaps more helpful to look at the program’s broader impact: An employer that previously had trouble getting its employees to engage in their health care programs now sees a 68 percent participation rate in Talk to Your Doc and deeper involvement in all aspects of their well-being. And the firm is seeing a healthier bottom line, too. The increased employee health awareness led to reduced premiums and lower overall health-care costs. In fact, the wellness and preventive-care programs have been so successful in reducing costs that the company is planning to expand its offerings to include employees’ spouses. Says Church Brothers payroll and benefits administrator Kerri McClintic, “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Results enjoyed by the employer and employees include:

  • Increased regular doctor visits
  • The detection of pre-existing conditions
  • Reduced premiums
  • Lower health care costs
  • 68 percent participation in the Talk to Your Doc physician visit program
  • A plan to expand program to spouses
  • At least one life saved