Founded in 2004, Wellpoint Health Limited is a workplace health and safety business with a national presence, servicing national and multinational corporations as well as all levels of government. Although Wellpoint’s headquarters are in Toronto, their 14 offices throughout the country allow them to deliver health and safety solutions regardless of where their clients are located.
“What that means is that we are very focused on the Canadian workforce — with employers and employees — providing them services that prevent injuries, as well as services that return individuals back to work. Our goal is to be the first and only point of contact to keep employees healthy, safe and productive. That is the mission of the company,” explains CEO Lorne Sugarman.
As Canadian workers need access to healthcare now more than ever, Wellpoint has secured a place in the economy as a leading solutions provider.
“We are providing a service that is needed in the marketplace. If you look at our demographics, we are an aging community and workforce, and everyone needs help. Whether it’s a musculoskeletal issue or mental health, these are everyday issues and we can provide a difference by being close to employers, being onsite or just there for them when they need us. We’re changing people’s lives with the kind of health support we offer,” says Sugarman.
Providing a full complement of health and safety services and personnel
“We are led by unique policies and procedures, and we use the most appropriate health professional to provide the services that an employer or employee is looking for. Because of our full complement of technicians, and clinicians, we can provide a very cost-effective yet high-quality solution, and we can do it consistently across the country,” says Sugarman.
Wellpoint offers health services, including onsite nursing and physician care, occupational injury service (OIS) and surveillance programs (including audiometric or pulmonary function testing, drug and alcohol testing and pre-appointment medical exams). Wellpoint also has wellness initiatives, which include onsite clinics, health coaching, mental health training and lunch-and-learn programs.
Some of the safety services Wellpoint provides include onsite fire and medics, safety training, administration and peer support program development. Safety services are critical in certain Canadian industries, particularly oil and gas, or mining.
“We have both industrial medics and firefighting services. Obviously, this is very practical and required in northern Alberta and BC, and, to a lesser degree, Saskatchewan, northern Ontario and Quebec, in the mining industry,” Sugarman adds.
Another key service is disability support, which can be provided either onsite or offsite from a centralized location. Disability management is crucial, as Wellpoint recognizes that a company’s most valuable asset is their employees.
“We help employees to go back to work. In our disability practice, we have helped both the organization and the employee work toward a back-to-work solution in a very efficient manner. For example, an employee might not be seeing the right type of health professional. Through our disability management team, our nurses are able to help that patient see the right clinician and efficiently get the type of care they need. This is both helpful to the employee and the employer because the employer wants a healthy worker and the employee wants to be healthy and be able to return. We are unique in that we also manage and maintain a high quality assessment and evaluation network. This is a great integrated resource for Disability Case Managers,” explains Sugarman.
Offering solutions across the nation
In order to increase the amount of people they can help with their health and safety services, Wellpoint is continuing to expand, soon to add an office in Quebec. Sugarman explains that a lot of companies in Quebec require services similar to Wellpoint’s Ontario clients, and that they would therefore be able to provide them with a much-needed, high-quality service.
“We are growing both organically and via acquisitions. Quebec has a lot of the same issues that we have in Ontario, with a large workforce and a lot of industrial companies,” says Sugarman. “We go where our clients need us to go.”
Furthermore, because of their team of specialists, Wellpoint is able to provide the specific type of healthcare needed for each individual employee almost anywhere in Canada. This allows for more specialized care than the worker would receive from their general practitioner.
“If we can provide you something in BC, we can also provide that to you in Ontario or eastern Canada with the same protocols, procedures and oversight that exists across the country. We have a great Chief Medical Officer and two Medical Directors that help us put together programs so that we are doctor lead, but we don’t require those doctors to always be onsite. We have them on an as-needed basis, while we have other clinicians that can provide an effective and efficient service to everyone,” says Sugarman.
Appreciating all stakeholders
In the end, it is the people that have made Wellpoint such a sought-after solutions provider. The team at Wellpoint have a passion for ensuring that Canadian workers are kept healthy and safe.
“We have a fantastic board of directors that have experience in finance and the entrepreneurial side of the world to provide guidance, instructions and whatever the business needs to succeed. We’re in a wonderful industry space that’s growing and complex, but fun to work in. We are able to provide real outcomes and real help to customers, and that in itself allows for growth,” states Sugarman.
Wellpoint values their team, clients and all stakeholders, including the lenders and investors that have aided them in their quest to provide high-quality health and safety services.
“We want to make sure our employees enjoy working for our business and are having fun when they come to work, that our customers are getting good value from our services and that all our stakeholders are happy as well with the services that we deliver and are treated well by Wellpoint, no pun intended,” says Sugarman.
In the future, Wellpoint seeks to continue to improve the quality of healthcare delivery as an industry leader. As companies depend on their employees and people require access to health and safety services in order to remain healthy, happy and productive in the workplace, Wellpoint offers Canadian businesses and government a valued service.
“We are innovative in our delivery of our health and safety services to our customers, and frankly to Canada. We are unique in how we go about it and we have a focus on the workforce that is differentiated.
We care about the health and safety of employees and we hope to continue to be innovative and thoughtful so we can change the delivery of healthcare in Canada in a positive manner,” says Sugarman.