Find Peace through Mindfulness and Meditation

With all the uncertainties and stress that the population as a whole is experiencing, your mental health can take a large toll. That’s why it’s important to try to live in the present moment to help you better connect to yourself and others. Developing a simple daily routine can also benefit your physical health and overall wellbeing. 

Mindfulness and meditation are distinct practices with similar goals. “We want to feel well in body, mind and spirit,” explains Suzanne Cushwa Rusnak, Coordinator of Mindfulness Programming for the Connor Integrative Health Network at University Hospitals. “When we aren't lost in thought or carried away by it, we can be more present with life as it unfolds.”

Rusnak suggests that the increasing popularity of mindfulness and meditation shows that people are looking to gain control over their health and to manage the pace of their lives. Mindfulness brings deep awareness of your outer life. It’s a way to pay attention, on purpose and without judgment, to what’s happening in the moment. Meditation is an intentional practice that focuses on your inner life. Emphasis is placed on the breath and sometimes on a specific purpose, such as forgiveness or cultivating joy.

The inner peace and general sense of wellbeing developed through mindfulness and meditation routines can help reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Research shows that these practices can also boost your immune system, improve sleep quality, decrease cognitive decline and help lower blood pressure. The positive impact on pain management and the recovery process can provide relief for you as well as for your caregivers.

How to Practice

Because meditation and mindfulness are practices, there’s no right or wrong way to engage. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and at any time, for one minute or longer. While washing your hands, notice the temperature of the water, the scent of the soap, the bubbles in the sink. Follow your dog’s lead on a daily walk and tune in to what it sees. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to what you’re doing right now.

Meditation is generally a more formal practice than mindfulness, but it also can be done in various settings. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet room or wander through a garden or park. You may choose to focus on a peaceful image or a soothing mantra. Instead of trying to clear your mind of all thoughts, acknowledge any worries or distractions and release them with each exhalation.

Many yoga studios, community centers and hospitals offer mindfulness and meditation classes for those seeking in-person guidance. Rusnak suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “Wherever You Go, There You Are” or if you’d like to start a daily practice on your own.

For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you are a COSE MEWA member through Medical Mutual, use our provider search tool to get started. To learn more about the wellness benefits offered through a COSE MEWA health plan, please contact your broker or your Medical Mutual Sales representative.


Sources: Cleveland Clinic,, Yoga International


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  • Next up: Payroll Reporting Requirements & True-up Reminder
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  • Payroll Reporting Requirements & True-up Reminder

    Earlier this year, we wrote about how the Ohio BWC calculates your premiums using payroll, industry/manual codes and claim costs/losses. Payroll is used to gauge your size, but many employers aren’t aware of the payroll reporting requirements.  Since the payroll True Up process begins July 1, we thought this would be a good time for a refresher.

    The BWC generally follows the guidelines of Medicare wage reporting to determine reportable payroll. In addition to gross wages/salaries (Medicare wages), the following are also considered as reportable payroll:

    • Sick pay (including third party, but excluding workers’ comp)
    • Bonus payments (including stock), all sales commissions and tips
    • Severance pay
    • Overtime and all shift and holiday differential pay
    • Stock gifts and profit sharing
    • Voluntary contributions to retirement accounts, including 401k and contributions to deferred compensation
    • Portions of cafeteria plans reportable to FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Authority)
    • Board, lodging, house/room rent, per diems and traveling expense that exceeds one-third of total remuneration, as well as expenses exceeding one-third of normal pay
    • Personal use of a company vehicle
    • Casual/spot labor

    The BWC allows for minimum and maximum reportable wages for officers of a corporation, employers who chose elective coverage and the construction industry.  Specifics and the minimum/maximum wage charge can be found using this link.


    Your 2018 policy year payroll true-up must be completed between July 1 and August 15

    Prior to the July 1 start of the policy year, the BWC will calculate your estimated annual premium using the last true-up payroll reported.  At the end of each policy year, employers are required to report the actual payroll for the prior policy year in the true-up process.  The system will recalculate premium for the prior policy year based on the actual payroll and determine whether additional premium or credit is due.  This must be completed by August 15.  Failure to report actual payroll for the prior policy year (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019) and pay any additional premium that may be due by the August 15 deadline could result in penalties ad disqualification from all BWC savings programs for two policy years. 

    For more information about the BWC true-up, please click HERE

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  • Next up: Telehealth – the Shift to Virtual Healthcare
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  • Telehealth – the Shift to Virtual Healthcare

    If virtual doctor visits weren’t on your radar until recently, you’re probably not alone. Now, many of us will likely see firsthand how telehealth (telemedicine) services offer a critical alternative to ensure we can all receive medical care safely.

    As the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 has caused millions of people to stay at home, we’re fortunate to live in a technologically connected world. Instead of canceling routine medical appointments to avoid potential exposure to the virus, your smartphone or computer offers another solution.

    Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, has been gaining popularity with healthcare providers and patients alike. Telehealth appointments allow you to stay connected with your provider and obtain needed medical care through live video chats using a computer or mobile device.

    How do visits work?

    Your healthcare provider will let you know what you’ll need to connect for your telehealth visit. It usually involves downloading a mobile app, such as FaceTime or Zoom. Some providers may use an online tool that is part of your electronic health record. This may require you to complete a registration process prior to your appointment.

    If you have a chronic health condition, your provider may also recommend using one or more devices to help monitor your health, such as a blood pressure cuff or digital scale. These tools can submit results directly to your provider.

    How are telehealth visits covered?

    As with any health benefit, your plan determines how virtual visits are covered. Generally speaking, virtual visits are covered the same as a standard office visit. During the COVID-19 national public health emergency declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some restrictions normally in place for telehealth visits have been relaxed.

    How should I prepare for my telehealth visit?

    There are a few basic steps you can take to prepare for your telehealth visit.

    1. Do a test run. Whether you’re using a mobile device, laptop or home computer, test your camera, microphone and speakers before your visit.
    2. Pick a location. Set up a dedicated space for the visit where you can have a quiet, private conversation with your provider. Make sure the space has plenty of light.
    3. Check your connection. If you’re using a laptop or mobile device, make sure it’s charged or keep it plugged in. Make sure you’re connected to the internet and have a strong Wi-Fi signal.
    4. Get organized. Make a list of medications or supplements you’re taking and be prepared to explain your symptoms and any health concerns you are having.

    For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you are a COSE MEWA member through Medical Mutual, use our provider search tool to get started. To learn more about the wellness benefits offered through a COSE MEWA health plan, please contact your broker or your Medical Mutual Sales representative.


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  • Next up: University Hospitals Helps Businesses Restart
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  • University Hospitals Helps Businesses Restart

    An interview with Joan Zoltanski, MD, Community Reactivation Director; Leader, UH Healthy Restart; David Sylvan, President UH Ventures; Ethan Karp, CEO, MAGNET; and Brandon Cornuke, Vice President of Startup Services, MAGNET.

    Why did University Hospitals take it upon themselves to help businesses?

    Zoltanski: University Hospitals has a legacy of caring for the community and that commitment extends beyond the walls of our institution. During the pandemic, UH provided our community with advice on symptom management, when to seek care and the latest advances in COVID-19 care, such as testing and access to clinical trials. Through these interactions, many businesses were asking us how to keep their employees and customers safe. We then leveraged our expertise in infection control to offer free resources that would help businesses advance their recoveries. And shortly thereafter we rolled out the UH Healthy Restart Playbook, a comprehensive toolkit to guide businesses in reopening safely.

    What’s included in the UH Healthy Restart Playbook?

    Sylvan: This toolkit includes a website with up-to-date content; a downloadable how-to guide; and an opportunity to ask UH experts for advice. Our goal is to share what we have learned about COVID-19 in a way that is understandable and helpful to our local businesses. The UH Healthy Restart Playbook includes information on what employers need to know, how to keep people safe, guidelines for environmental safety, and recommendations for building trust with employees and customers. Answers to the most frequently asked items are also published online so all viewers may benefit from the guidance provided by UH.

    Who provided the information contained in these resources?

    Zoltanski: The UH Healthy Restart Playbook aggregates key recommended best practices in alignment with current guidance from federal and state agencies. UH infectious disease experts, including those with the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, provide context and simplification of the material along with contributions from our physician-scientists; our innovation division, UH Ventures; and collaborative teams from clinical and corporate functions across our health system. In fact, the UH Roe Green Center is staffed by board-certified infectious disease specialists who have been on the leading edge of research, prevention, and treatment of pandemic diseases for 40 years.

    Are there other services UH can offer businesses as part of the UH Healthy Restart program?

    Sylvan: Yes. For an additional fee, UH offers customized consultative services, such as:

    • COVID-19 Hotline - Quick access when employee screening results are positive.
    • Clinical Review of Reopening Plans - Evaluation by UH safety officers and infection control nurses.
    • Webinars - Focused clinical and safety information from UH experts.
    • N95 Mask Fitting - Professional, individualized fitting of protective equipment.
    • Entryway Screenings - Employee screening at entrances by a UH caregiver.
    • Site Visits and Consultations - UH infection control specialists provide guidance on distancing, personal protective equipment and cleaning.
    • Chief Health Officer-in-Residence - Dedicated clinical resource to address ongoing needs.

    Are you making modifications to the Playbook to dive deeper into a specific industry?

    Sylvan: Yes. We currently have a number of industry-specific supplements underway. For example in the manufacturing arena, we have worked with the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) to not only design a return to work plan for them, but to help them provide consultation for their customers who are small- and mid-sized manufacturers across Northeast Ohio.

    What were some of the concerns you had in reopening?

    Karp: Not only did we have to ensure our 45 MAGNET employees would be safe, but we needed to provide trustworthy solutions for our manufacturing tenants and those who come into our facility for training. We have a prototype manufacturing plant at our location so we also needed to make sure we could have people safely interact in that space.

    Why did you think UH could help?

    Karp: UH has a plethora of experts skilled in infectious disease as well as facility management. By utilizing UH’s evidence-based guidance, we convey to our employees and other stakeholders that we have dotted all the I’s and crossed all the t’s and are working to keep them safe. UH gives us the credibility that we have implemented effective protocols based on current understanding of COVID transmission. There is so much information on the various state and federal websites that it’s impossible to sort through it all and make sense of it. The UH team has distilled the clinical reasons behind the most important information that’s relevant for our business.

    How have you engaged UH to help with your reopening efforts?

    Cornuke: We modeled many of our processes and procedures from the UH Healthy Restart Playbook. For example, we put partitions in classrooms, closed off sink areas and properly distanced our workstations. But now we are taking their manufacturing content to the next level. We are working with UH to dive deeper so we can provide these resources to our clients. For instance, we are discussing the differences between the various masks available in the market and comparing these masks to face shields. We are providing discussion around the use of fans and air conditioning and the circumstances for proper use. We detail various disinfection procedures and the areas within a plant for concentrated focus.

    What has been the reaction of your employees/customers to these efforts?

    Cornuke: Our staff feels very comfortable we’ve taken the necessary steps and out tenants are really pleased with the safety in facility. With the measures we’ve implemented, they feel we have made safety an important facet of our culture and particularly made their safety a priority.

    Any advice to other businesses /lessons learned?

    Karp: There is no such thing as over-communicating. It’s very important to constantly stay in touch with your stakeholders about the steps you have taken. A key point is to listen to your people and seek their feedback about their experience when they walk in your building so you know what is working and what isn’t. I’m proud of our staff and the measures we are taking because it demonstrates we place a high value on their safety.

    I’m also very appreciative UH has been a thought leader in this area. They have really done a good thing for our community and the entire state in stepping up to do this.

    To download your free copy of the UH Healthy Restart Playbook, visit

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  • Next up: Perfect Your Trade Show Secret Sauce
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  • Perfect Your Trade Show Secret Sauce

    You’re spending a lot of money for your trade show display. Here’s how to get the biggest bang for your buck.

    You’re spending a lot of money for your trade show display. Here’s how to get the biggest bang for your buck.

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  • Next up: Podcast with Adatasol
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  • Podcast with Adatasol

    I had the opportunity to spend some time this week with Dan Weiss, president at Adatasol, to discuss what’s going on in his world as well as what the company has done since graduating from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

    I had the opportunity to spend some time this week with Dan Weiss, president at Adatasol, to discuss what’s going on in his world as well as what the company has done since graduating from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

    He was kind enough to answer several questions about what services the company offers and what the culture is like on a daily basis. We also got into a great conversation about how Northeast Ohio is not only a wonderful place to live, but also the best place to work in the information technology field.

    Listen here.

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