How HF Sinclair Corporation Is Managing Musculoskeletal Care Costs With New Benefits Strategies

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are a high cost driver for HF Sinclair's health plan. In response, we’re focused on getting our employees active in their own healthcare and preventive care, with an emphasis on mitigating long-term physical stress.

Published Date: Sep 7, 2022

Our Hinge Health Experts

Rebecca Eads, PHR
Total Rewards Manager at HF Sinclair Corporation.
Rebecca Eads, PHR, Total Rewards Manager at HF Sinclair Corporation manages the evaluation and selection of benefits programs for more than 3,500 employees world-wide. She plays a key role in the design and implementation of benefit programs that improve the overall health outcomes and lives of HF Sinclair employees and their families. With 10+ years of Human Resource experience, Rebecca has served in a Total Rewards leadership role for several large employers, and other HR leadership roles including Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Mergers and Acquisitions, and HR generalist. Prior to HF Sinclair, Rebecca served as a Benefits Manager at Tenet Healthcare.

HF Sinclair Corporation is a leading energy producer with several lines of business including oil refining (i.e., refining products such as gasoline), midstream services (i.e., storing, transporting, and loading product), and manufacturing lubricants used in everyday products like petroleum jelly, dental wax, lipstick, gel capsules, and even chewing gum. The company is also investing in state-of-the-art refining equipment to produce renewable diesel products that transform waste from local sources to energy.

HF Sinclair operates globally with over 3,700 employees worldwide and more than 2,800 in the United States. Our workforce produces around 10 million gallons of gasoline per day and 34,000 barrels of lubricants per day. This requires a significant amount of strenuous, manual work. Most employees have physically demanding jobs such as engineering, transporting heavy products, and maintaining refining equipment and equipment controllers.

In addition to the physically demanding nature of the work, HF Sinclair has a tenured and aging workforce that needs to take care of their bodies. Given all these factors, it’s not surprising that musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are a high cost driver for our health plan. In response, we’re focused on getting our employees active in their own healthcare and preventive care, with an emphasis on mitigating long-term physical stress.

HF Sinclair Corporation’s benefits philosophy and workforce challenges

We all know that if employees can live a happy and healthy life, they will show up and be productive on the job. As a result, HF Sinclair offers a competitive benefits package that takes a “whole person” approach to supporting employees, regardless of their priorities or stage of life. We strive to provide solutions that address each employee’s unique physical, mental, financial, career, or social needs. The goal is to drive employee ownership of personal health and well-being.

HF Sinclair faces three primary workforce challenges:

  1. Access to quality healthcare for our remote and isolated workforce. Many of our oil refineries are located in remote, rural locations. We need healthcare solutions that provide a high level of care and address employee needs, regardless of where people live or work.

  2. Addressing comorbidities. Rising rates of depression commonly accompany high incidences of MSK pain. To address these comorbidities, HF Sinclair wants to treat the whole person – not just one specific claim or ailment.

  3. Navigating healthcare. HF Sinclair needs an easy way for employees to navigate the healthcare system and their benefits.

Addressing MSK pain with Hinge Health

After analyzing our health plan claims, HF Sinclair recognized that it needed a solution to support employees with MSK conditions and subsequent comorbidities like depression.

We learned about Hinge Health through our medical plan and were impressed that it produced results through positive clinical outcomes. Our members could receive quality, personalized care for MSK conditions and participate in exercise therapy on their own time at home through guided personal coaching. We liked several other aspects of the Hinge Health program, including:

  • An approach that goes beyond just physical therapy, offering a complete clinical care team with a personal physical therapist and a personal health coach dedicated to support each member.

  • One-on-one health coaching that focuses on changing members’ overall lifestyle issues that can contribute to MSK pain, such as diet, stress, exercise, and mental health.

  • Supportive and motivating relationships with coaches that help members recover. Hinge Health’s personal health coaches look at members’ whole health and serve as their health champions.

HF Sinclair concluded that Hinge Health would pair well with its medical plan’s health advocacy services. A team of medical plan representatives serves as member advocates, helping employees navigate the complexities of healthcare and acting as an extension of our benefits team.

If a member calls our health plan about MSK issues, a health advocate asks questions to identify whether the individual is a good fit for the Hinge Health program and connects them directly with Hinge Health if there is a match.

Strong member engagement led to reduced pain and better mental health

After the first 12 weeks of the Hinge Health program, members read an average of 22 education articles. Each week, participants engaged in three to four exercise therapy sessions using the Hinge Health app. The digital solution appealed to our members. Employees in remote locations could do their exercises when and where it was convenient for them. The wearable sensors also helped guide them, ensuring that they were performing their exercises correctly.

In addition, our members interacted with their coaches and physical therapists four to five times per week via text message, email, and/or phone. We really liked that Hinge Health assigned physical therapists and coaches individually to our members, so they could build strong personal relationships.

We were very happy with Hinge Health’s impressive results with regard to our members’ physical and mental health:

- Lower levels of MSK pain. After the first 12 weeks of the Hinge Health program, each participant had an average 51% reduction in pain. For comparison, the average pain reduction in clinical trials with opioids is 15%. With Hinge Health, our members were seeing pain reduction that was nearly four times greater than with opioids.

- Positive financial outcomes, due to avoided surgeries. HF Sinclair avoided about two in three surgeries, generating a 3.5x ROI by working with Hinge Health. The member benefits of avoided surgeries also can’t be ignored, since fewer surgeries mean fewer individuals receive opioid prescriptions.

- Dramatic mental health improvements. After the first 12 weeks of the Hinge Health program, we saw an average 94% reduction in the number of participants with anxiety and a 100% decrease in the number of participants with depression.

- Higher levels of productivity. People who feel better physically and mentally are usually more engaged on the job. This proved to be the case with our employees who participated in the Hinge Health program. After the first 12 weeks of the program, we saw a 33% decrease in absenteeism and presenteeism.

Hinge Health changes employees’ lives

Hearing our member stories is what’s most rewarding about the Hinge Health program. One of our employees recently sent us an email which illustrates how Hinge Health’s whole body and lifestyle approach is making a difference: “Sometimes I feel it would be easy to have a magic pill or surgery to remove the pain. But with the Hinge Health program, I have reaffirmed the belief that exercise and strengthening problem areas will benefit in the long run. It’s harder to maintain this lifestyle sometimes, but I understand I can do more to help myself than any doctor can.”

To learn more about how you can implement Hinge Health to support a strategy that addresses rising MSK care costs, request a demo.