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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Lee Memorial Health System

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Industry: Hospitals/Health Care
Location: Fort Myers, Fla.
2008 Rank: 5

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

One of AARP’s top-10 Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2008, the Lee Memorial Health System has exceptional recruitment and retainment strategies. Lee Memorial’s Nurse Refresher Program provides a skill and knowledge review to retired nurses and nurses who have been outside the nursing role. The Transitional Work Program accommodates employees who may be temporarily or permanently disabled or unable to perform job duties. Employees and volunteers are entitled to free visits to all five of the acute-care system’s employee-health offices. Many retirees become members of the Share Club, which provides free health activities, resources, education, and health screenings.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Lee Memorial uses placement agencies for older adults, to target mature workers and retirees. The health system also has an outreach program to various community and senior-citizen centers to help older people seeking job opportunities.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Lee Memorial offers full- and part-time employees the following learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and older-adult sensitivity training. Employees must work 16+ hours per week to be eligible for the tuition-reimbursement program. Older adult services provide computer classes for older volunteers and employees. In the past 12 months, 61 percent of Lee Memorial employees took part in at least one of these opportunities, with an average of four hours spent in training.

The health system celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards.

Based on employee feedback, the company has made the following improvements to policies and benefits: It has established free employee-health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners at all five hospital locations, increased tuition reimbursement, raised funds for scholarships, offered advances for hard-to-fill positions, enhanced retirement plans, implemented a caregiver-support program, and implemented Senior Leadership Listening forums. It also increased nurse internships, supported the nurse-refresher program, and started an in-house mail-order pharmacy offering reduced prices for employees.

Lee Memorial gives employees the opportunity to work on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects. Employees also have access to formal job-rotation programs.  

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees (working 16+ hrs per week) receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short- and long-term disability coverage.

Health benefits for retirees below age 65 include individual and spouse medical coverage, individual drug coverage, individual vision and dental insurance, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, EAP services, and individual and spouse life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for these benefits upon retirement, excluding spouse medical coverage and individual long-term care insurance.

Health benefits for retirees at 65+ include individual medical and drug coverage, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, EAP services, and individual and spouse life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all the above benefits upon retirement. Lee Memorial offers employees flexible-spending accounts (FSA) to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs.

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