Gov. pushing for Utah health care improvements

While Gov. Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan has been the most prominent issue related to health reform, it is not the only focus when it comes to the health of the people of our state.

The governor was joined by a number of health care experts including physicians, legislators and state agency representatives as he discussed the future of health care in Utah at the fourth annual Health Summit Monday morning.

“Building a better health care system is really about people,” said Gov. Herbert. “We are working to educate them about health issues and to help them navigate the health system more effectively.”

There are four areas in which Gov. Herbert hopes to make major improvements within the state’s health care system:

  • Value-based care
  • Behavioral health integration
  • Advance care planning
  • Diabetes, obesity and tobacco

During the summit Gov. Herbert discussed his Healthy Utah plan and also talked about ways Utahns can cut health care costs simply by making behavioral and environmental changes that prevent conditions caused by obesity and tobacco use.

“Utah ranks among the top ten healthiest states in the nation. Other states look to Utah as a model for health care reform,” he said “But we must never stop striving for even better outcomes.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Gov. Herbert announced the winners of the annual Choose Health Challenge, a 10-week competition aimed at creating a healthier workforce that lowers health care costs and creates more productive employees. The Utah Dept. of Commerce won first place while the Utah State Tax Commission and the Utah Dept. of Administrative Services came in second and third.

Here are just a few of the things employees at the Commerce Dept. did during the challenge:

  • Attended fitness classes at 7:30 a.m. several days each week
  • Lost weight and reported marked improvement in their physical condition
  • Started a blog to promote walking trails, quitting tobacco use and healthy eating
  • Created a “Choose Health Fridge” that was stocked with healthy snacks
  • Hosted weekly farmers markets and held a 5K fun run to benefit the Utah Food Bank

The governor said he looks forward to seeing the remarkable strides we will make over the coming year, as we continue to make Utah the healthiest state in the nation.