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PSU Employees to Receive Bonus

Instead of penalizing those who don't participate in a health screening, Penn State is now looking to reward employees who do.
PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - Instead of penalizing those who don't participate in a health screening, Penn State is looking to reward employees who do.

University employees who choose to participate in the new wellness program will receive a $100 bonus.

It's all part of a participation reward system set in motion by administration.

"We wanted to provide some sort of tangible appreciation for people who did comply with the three components of the wellness program," University spokesperson, Annemarie Mountz, said.

Penn State employees who complete an online wellness profile, a physical exam and biometric screening test by November 22, will get a $100 bonus in their checks in January 2014.

"If their spouses also complied with the two parts they had to comply with, then the reward is $150," Mountz said.

So far, more than 10,000 employees have completed the biometric screening, about 8,800 have completed the physical exam, and more than 9,700 have finished the online profile.

The payback won't be cheap.

"We're estimating the reward is going to cost roughly $1.2 million," Mountz said.

Penn State professor Brian Curran is getting mixed signals.

"They're treating it like a drop in the bucket," he said. "I sense conflicting signals."

He says he's heard mixed reviews from fellow employees, too.

"So far, what I'm getting is a lot of angry emails from people who took the screenings," Curran said.

But Mountz says the decision was easy.

"Because of the nature of the surcharge that has been suspended, that was seen as an appropriate amount," she said.

While the payback will make a significant dent in Penn State's pocket, Mountz says it's only a one-time cost, rather than a recurring expense.

University officials continue to form a joint task force to discuss the wellness program.

A couple of weeks ago, the university Faculty/Senate announced it will recommend dropping the spouse surcharge as well. No decision has been made to date.
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