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Washington public employees offered health care discount to watch DEI conference

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(The Center Square) – The state of Washington is offering public employees health care incentives to watch videos of presentations from the Washington State DEI Empowerment Conference occurring this week. If all are watched, it would enable the participant to qualify for a discount or reduction to their health care costs.

For watching the videos to be posted next month, employees who are PEBB and SEBB health insurance members can receive SmartHealth points to qualify for a wellness incentive. SmartHealth is a voluntary wellness program offered by the state. According to the state Health Care Authority, there are various activities intended to promote better health, including community groups, syncing step trackers and counting steps. Most core activities earn between 50-150 points, while featured activities like watching webinars, reading articles, and learning meditation earn 50-100 points. The DEI sessions will qualify in this category when they are made available. Completing the initial assessment alone earns 800 points of the 2,000 points needed to qualify for the wellness incentive.

Depending on their plan, participants can either receive a one-time deposit of $145 into their health savings account in January or a $125 reduction to their medical plan deductible in January.

The theme for this year’s DEI conference taking place this week in Olympia, Yakima/Union Gap, and Spokane Valley is “Equity & Belonging Through Disrupting Policy & Practice” and will feature 16 sessions that include the following topics:

Equity and Belonging – Why am I so emotional?Building DEIB Momentum Amid the War Against DEIThe Myth of the Model MinoritySupporting Leadership and Utilizing BRGs to Recruit and Retain Latine EmployeesImmigration as a Barrier to Employment- Raising Every VoiceEmbedding The 4-D Model of Neuro-Inclusive CommunicationNormalizing Shared Power as a tool to Disrupt Policies, Practices, and Processes (The 3 P’s)

The conference’s keynote speaker is Ijeoma Oluo, who, according to the conference schedule, hosted a session on June 5 titled “Be a Revolution!,” which is also the title of one of her published books. She is also the author of “So You Want to Talk About Race” and “Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.”

According to the state Office of Financial Management, only two of the 16 sessions will not be recorded. The DEI Conference website states that those two sessions will not be recorded “for various reasons including to foster speaker safety, honor traditions and cultural norms, and respect topics undergoing rapid change at the time of presentation.”

DEI training is required for all Washington state employees.

The DEI Conference’s partner sites include the following:

fiscal.wa.gov governor.wa.govresults.wa.govservewashington.wa.govone.wa.govoria.wa.govclimate.wa.gov

The conference goes from June 5 to June 12. Admission is free and open to employees of any state agencies, boards, and commissions.