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Seneca Gaming Corp. partners with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to keep employees healthy

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Wed, Jan 6th 2016 10:20 am

NFMMC affiliate to staff on-site health office at Seneca Niagara

For many, leading a healthier lifestyle is a popular New Year's resolution. For Seneca Gaming Corp., it's an ongoing commitment to the company's 4,000 employees.

Officials from Seneca Gaming Corp. and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center announced a partnership that will continue Seneca Gaming's efforts to provide its employees access to health and wellness benefits. Effective Jan. 1, Niagara Services Inc., an affiliate of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, is staffing the on-site health office at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.

"We have the best team of employees anywhere in the region. Providing them the best possible work environment is a core value for our company," said Audrey Oswell, Seneca Gaming Corp. chief operating officer. "Having a strong partner like Niagara Falls Memorial, who is also a community leader, will only help us to better serve this goal."

Seneca Gaming Corp. offers an on-site health office at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino exclusively for employees and their spouses. Employees can utilize the office on-or-off-shift without co-pays, regardless of medical plan enrollment. Niagara Services will staff the office, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with a nurse practitioner and a licensed practical nurse.

"We are excited about the opportunity for Niagara Services Inc., an affiliate of the medical center, to provide on-site health services to our neighbors at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino," Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. "Seneca Gaming Corp. is to be commended for its emphasis on employee health, and Niagara Services will work closely with Seneca Gaming to promote its wellness efforts."

Heading up efforts for Niagara Services will be Chanda G. Agro, FNP-BC, RN, RNFA. Agro, who earned her Master of Science degree from the University at Buffalo School of Nursing's family nurse practitioner program, has extensive experience in the provision of primary care services, including preventative wellness exams, acute care evaluation and treatment and referral services and testing evaluation.

The Seneca Niagara health office opened in October 2011. In addition to the services that will now be provided by Niagara Services, Seneca Gaming employees enrolled in Independent Health medical coverage can also access a health coach provided by Independent Health, who offers assistance with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular health and obesity, along with nutritional guidance, coordination of preventive care and medication, and linkage to primary care physician services at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. The office sees an average of 1,300 patients per year. A similar office was established at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca in 2004.

Establishing the health office has been just one part of the overall wellness program Seneca Gaming has established for employees at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Throughout the year, targeted programs focus on nutrition, stress management, healthy heart awareness, diabetes awareness, smoking cessation, weight loss and even financial wellness. Employees can also participate in a free on-site comprehensive wellness screening, which consists of a 36-panel blood draw and completion of a health risk assessment. This past year saw a 23 percent increase in participation.

"For Seneca Gaming Corp., being an employer of choice goes beyond wages and benefits," added John Kennedy Jr., vice president of human resources, Seneca Gaming Corp. "Our wellness program continually looks for new ways to engage everyone throughout the company in wellness activities that make us stronger individually and as an organization."

In light of its efforts, Seneca Gaming has been recognized as a local and national leader in employee wellness. The company was ranked No. 17 in the 2015 "Healthiest Workplaces in America" by Healthiest Employers LLC, which includes employers of all sizes from all regions and industries. As part of the evaluation, Healthiest Employers scored Seneca Gaming on six dimensions of workplace wellness and completed a comprehensive assessment to measure the company's workplace wellness program outcomes.

The national recognition followed Seneca Gaming being named Western New York's healthiest employer (jumbo category) by Buffalo Business First in 2014. In addition, the company was awarded the "Elite Wellness Lives Here" designation by the American Diabetes Association, and received Fit Friendly - Platinum recognition by the American Heart Association.

"We're a big company, but we have a family mentality where taking care of one another is important," Oswell explained. "We want to help everyone within our Seneca Gaming family to enjoy healthy, productive and fulfilling lives."

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