Healthfirst Recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

Healthfirst takes innovative approach to decrease healthcare expenses, increase productivity

NEW YORK, NY – September 30, 2014 – Healthfirst has been recognized as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association (AHA) for helping employees eat better and move more. To celebrate this significant achievement and kick off its innovative wellness platform, Healthfirst is hosting a special Healthfirst/AHA Fit-Friendly Worksite Award Ceremony at its company headquarters, 100 Church Street, New York, N.Y., on October 2, from 11 a.m.–noon.
“Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at Healthfirst. We are committed to providing the best workplace environment possible and are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite,” said Sean Kane, Healthfirst’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Healthfirst has been a proud supporter of the American Heart Association in New York City, participating in the AHA’s Go Red For Women initiative, the Wall Street Run & Heart Walk, and the Teaching Gardens program. We are excited to continue our partnership, promoting healthy living practices to benefit our employees’ overall health.”
Gold-level employers like Healthfirst:

  • Offer all employees physical activity support at the worksite.
  • Increase the number of healthy eating options at the worksite.
  • Promote a wellness culture at the worksite.
  • Implement at least nine criteria as outlined by the AHA in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and culture.

The Healthfirst/AHA Fit-Friendly Worksite Award Ceremony will feature the official AHA plaque presentation to Healthfirst; healthy smoothie samples from Healthfirst corporate partner Veggiecation; a healthy version of chicken in cilantro cream from Chef Elsie Ramos; and healthy, educational stations for employee wellness champions and senior leadership.
The Fit-Friendly Worksite Award Ceremony will kick off an innovative, seven-month corporate wellness platform in 2015 to improve and encourage healthy behaviors among Healthfirst employees. Programming will be based on the scientifically backed AHA Life’s Simple 7® that focuses on promoting physical activity, controlling cholesterol, eating better, losing weight, managing blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, and stopping smoking. Healthfirst is the only company in New York City to be rolling out the Life’s Simple 7 wellness plan in partnership with the AHA. This will be one of the strategies in fostering a culture of wellness at Healthfirst.
American employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion a year because of healthcare expenses and health-related losses in productivity, and that number is 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.
“The Fit-Friendly Worksites Program offers a unique, easy-to-implement opportunity for corporations to increase employees’ physical activity, which will help improve their health—and their employers’ bottom line,” said Helaine Baruch, Senior Vice President at the American Heart Association of New York City. “Even people who haven’t exercised regularly until middle age can reap significant benefits by starting a walking program. A study published in 1986 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that some adults may gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercise they performed.”
About Healthfirst
Healthfirst is a not-for-profit health plan serving more than one million members in downstate New York. It is the top-rated Medicaid managed care plan for quality in New York and Long Island. Created in 1993 by a consortium of the region’s health systems, Healthfirst’s operating model strives to achieve quality outcomes, cost effectiveness, and member satisfaction through collaboration with its extensive provider network and community organizations.
Healthfirst offers a comprehensive selection of free and low-cost health insurance options for individuals and families at every stage of life, including government-sponsored health plans such as Child Health Plus, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Advantage, Managed Long Term Care, as well as commercial plans, such as Healthfirst Leaf Plans. We treat our members with the same care and attention we give our own families.
For more information on Healthfirst, please visit
About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, we’re the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit
Laura Vialva
718-764-3517 (cell)

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