by Katharine Grayson, Staff reporter, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
University of Minnesota Health will launch an executive-health program catering to Twin Cities companies this summer.
Called Signature Health and Wellness, the program is the second such service started by a Twin Cities health system in the past two years. Robbinsdale-based North Memorial Health Care piloted a program at its Minnetonka Medical Center in 2015 and fully launched it in January.
St. Louis Park-based Park Nicollet Services has had an executive health program for several years.
The idea for the U of M Health initiative came from University of Minnesota Medical School Dean Dr. Brooks Jackson, said Dr. Lynne Fiscus, executive medical director for the new University of Minnesota Health surgery center, which houses the service. Jackson came to the U from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which had a successful executive health program.
Twin Cities businesses have approached the school for years about starting a program so employees wouldn’t have to travel outside the metro area for care.
Executives receive a day-long physical and are evaluated for health risk factors. Primary care physicians coordinate evaluations with specialists such as dermatologists as needed, Fiscus said. All patient suites have private bathrooms.
The program aims to walk the line of “feeling like a perk” without being reminiscent of the 1980s-era stereotype that executive physicals center around expensive, unnecessary tests, she added. U of M Health brought in volunteer advisers such as employee-benefits experts to craft the program.
Prices aren’t yet available for Signature, which is close to hiring its first medical director.
Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic is well known for its executive health program that draws business leaders nationwide. However, the market for a Twin Cities-based program remains large, thanks to the metro area’s high concentration of corporate headquarters, North Memorial officials say.
Fortune 500 CEOs aren’t the only executives participating, said Dr. Merritt Beh, a physician in North Memorial’s Executive Health program.
“More and more we’re seeing managers and lower-level employees being offered benefits as well,” she said, noting that even executives in their 30s and 40s get the perk.
North Memorial’s Executive Health offering has three tiers: platinum, silver and silver light. The platinum program includes a cardiovascular disease risk assessment that looks at how much calcium has built up in arteries, plus an array of other tests. It costs $4,500, while its silver level program comes in at $2,500 and its light offering is $1,800.
North Memorial also recently launched a Concierge Medicine program. That offering lets patients pay a membership fee in exchange for any-time access to their physician.