Wellness Company May Provide Services To Brownsville Independent School District – Board Votes Tuesday

The Brownsville Independent School District will consider awarding a contract to a San Antonio company at their next board meeting. Van Ackeren Consulting lLC, DBA Personalized Prevention, provides employers a comprehensive on-site wellness program designed to improve employee health and lower costs.

Mike W. Thomas

Having launched and grown a business during an economic recession, Lisa Van Ackeren says the sky is the limit as the economy starts to pull out of the doldrums.

Although Van Ackeren Consulting LLC, DBA Personalized Prevention, was founded in 2006, it wasn’t until 2008 that the company got its first major client. By that time, the recession, which officially ended in 2009, was well under way.

“We came up with the idea in 2006 and spent the next two years trying to figure out how to do it,” Van Ackeren says of her company, which provides proactive care management, wellness and preventive programming to individuals and their families through employers associations and claim payers.

Today, Personalized Prevention, a health care risk management company, has 34 clients and more than 53,000 members that it serves, including employees at some major San Antonio area employers such as The Scooter Store, Rackspace Managed Hosting and Our Lady of the Lake University.

“Our niche is high-tech and high-touch,” Van Ackeren says. “We provide an on-site presence that is unique in the industry and provide our clients with personalized service.”

Van Ackeren says her company provides clients with all the essential elements of a successful population health-management program, including assessment, intervention, education, access and incentives.

“We are patient advocates and our solutions are flexible,” she says. “We manage and coordinate a personalized combination of programs that target the specific population needs of each client.

“Our Personalized Prevention programs are designed to reduce risk factors and lead populations to better overall health and well being.”

Van Ackeren says the goal of her company is to provide a return on investment to their clients by providing services that reduce health care costs over the long-term. “Happier, healthier employees are more productive and less expensive,” she says.

Rising Star

Van Ackeren, a native of San Antonio, began her career in the insurance industry in 1995 after graduating from Texas A&M University. It was while working in the insurance industry that she learned to develop proactive loss prevention and loss control programs that reduce the risk of workplace injury and illness.

She worked for several national insurance companies in Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She went back to school a few year later and earned a law degree in 2004 from Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Fort Worth. As a licensed attorney, she advises employers and brokers on legal issues relating to health and benefit plans, legislation and regulatory compliance, insurance contracts and corporate matters.

Earlier this year, Van Ackeren won the Rising Star Award given by the National Association of Women Business Owners to honor outstanding San Antonio area women business owners.

She is married to Dr. Dan Van Ackeren, a chiropractor who co-founded the company and serves as its chief development officer. Lisa Van Ackeren serves as the company’s president, CEO and general counsel.

Personalized Prevention currently employs 14 people and was just shy of $3 million in revenues in 2010. The company has done business in all 50 states, but the majority of its business is clustered in Texas and Oklahoma with a sizable segment in the Seattle area as well.

Motivational impact

Phillip John Vargas, director of human resources at Our Lady of the Lake University, says he is very pleased with the services that Personalized Prevention has provided to that institution.

“We have gotten nothing but positive feedback since we started with them last October,” Vargas says. “They have established a wellness program for us that has been truly beneficial.”

Vargas says that Personalized Prevention has done several screenings for cholesterol levels and have managed to identify several high-risk employees who did not know they had a problem.

“We had one man who they found to have diabetes that he didn’t know he had,” Vargas says. “For another woman, they recommended a change in her treatment regimine and she lost 30 pounds and now feels much better.”

Vargas says by setting up clinics and screenings at the school, it encourages employees who are otherwise reluctant to visit their personal physician to get health check-ups. They also sponsored a “Biggest Loser” contest to help people lose weight and the winning employee shed 39 pounds in 12 weeks.

Vargas says since the university has not been in the program for more than a year, he does not know what kind of financial impact it will have, but says the motivational impact has already been very positive.

“The services they provide are very personalized and we appreciate that,” Vargas adds. “The benefits go beyond our 600-plus employees and extend to their families.”