Blue Shield of California places a high priority on the health and well-being of our people. One of the ways we do this is by offering a variety of health and wellness benefits, including Wellvolution. Wellvolution is a one-stop shop health platform for virtual and in-person health management programs, tools, and lifestyle apps available to our staff to learn better habits and improve their health. Based on a person’s health status, goals, and preferences, Wellvolution guides users on a path of recommendations at no cost to them. Some of the programs included in Wellvolution are designed to help:
- Prevent and treat chronic disease
- Lose weight
- Manage stress
- Sleep better
- Eat healthier
- Stop smoking
Virta is a Type 2 diabetes reversal program that is now offered through Wellvolution. To learn more about Virta and how it can help, I chatted with Sheridan Mason, Senior Delegation Operations Auditor at Blue Shield of California about her experience.
When Sheridan was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes over 10 years ago, she recalls being in denial even though she would get sick regularly. It wasn’t until her doctor held her hand and told her that she was a diabetic that it really began to sink in. Since coming to work for Blue Shield, Sheridan has been using Virta to help reverse her diabetes – something she never imagined was possible.
Q: Did you find that these benefits were easy to discover and access?
“It was really easy,” says Sheridan, recalling that it was the idea that Virta can reverse diabetes that drew her to sign up for Wellvolution and enroll in the program.
“I never thought that reversal of the diabetic diagnosis was even possible. I was always told that once you’re a diabetic, you’re diabetic for life, and I held onto that.”
Sheridan began with a virtual visit with a doctor, then followed it with lab work. Once she was approved for Virta, Sheridan was introduced to a medical team and health coach, “They worked with me on a daily basis. We would communicate a lot through messages on the Virta app.” Whether she was feeling physically ill or struggling emotionally, she was able to talk to her care team about it and they were available to support her. If she wasn’t feeling well, her health coach would communicate with her doctor who would email her to check in to diagnose the situation and provide care solutions.
Before joining the Virta program, Sheridan was taking insulin and oral medications, but due to her progress, her doctor has taken her off both the oral meds and her insulin, and she now only needs an injection once per week. “It works for me,” says Sheridan. “In addition to eating the correct foods and taking the once-a-week injection, it has pretty much changed my life.”
Sheridan recalls having some rough times over the past few years, but her coach was there to support her through it all. “We have a really good relationship and he’s so encouraging.”
Q: How would you say that your health improvements have impacted other areas of your life?
“Prior to Virta, I was making trips constantly to the emergency room (ER) with different issues that were going on either with my stomach, or with the diabetes. I can’t even tell you the last time I went to the ER. Now, if I have any issues, I just text my care team and they’re able to tell me what I need to do or pinpoint what caused it. And I don’t feel sick all the time like before.”
Sheridan’s health coach is also diabetic and able to offer advice from his own experience. Through the program, Sheridan has met and connected with others who are going through similar health journeys. The support from people who can relate to her story has been critical to her continued success.
Sheridan feels better both mentally and physically and is motivated by her family and her health coach, who has become a friend. Sheridan has three grandchildren and says, “I want to be here to see them go to college, to get married. I’m talking proms and all that stuff. And my youngest grandson, he’s eight months now, that’s a long way for me to go and I don’t want to be sick all the time. I want to be able to enjoy right now.” She also states, “I want to be here for my husband, I want to be here to help my parents, because they’re up in age now and I want to be here to help them as much as I can. If I’m sick, I’m no good to anyone.”
Q: What advice do you have for those considering joining the Blue Shield team?
“Join Wellvolution and take advantage of everything that Blue Shield has to offer to choose the healthy path because they want to help us be and stay well,” adds Sheridan.
Sheridan says that coming to work for Blue Shield and signing up for Wellvolution has been a game changer for her life. She appreciates the support provided to help her be well and is not under as much of the stress she recalls being under in previous roles for other companies. Since coming to work for Blue Shield three years ago, she’s lost 34 pounds, feels great, and has more energy – allowing her to enjoy life without feeling fatigued.
Here’s to a happy, healthy next chapter! If you’d like to work for a company that values the overall health and wellbeing of its members and people, view our available career opportunities and apply.
Angie Kalousek-Ebrahimi is senior director of Lifestyle Medicine at Blue Shield of California, and a program lead for the Wellvolution platform.