Enroll in Long-term Disability during the month of March

From March 1 through March 31, 2019, you will have a special, one-time open enrollment opportunity for optional long-term disability insurance. You can enroll or reduce your waiting period without providing evidence of insurability (proof of good health). Normally, you must submit proof of good health to take these actions after your initial 31-day eligibility period for PEBB benefits.

This opportunity is available to employees whose employer offers LTD insurance. Changes made during March 2019 will be effective May 1, 2019. Learn more about optional LTD, or calculate your LTD insurance needs, on The Standard’s website.

If you haven’t enrolled in optional LTD in the past, or didn’t want to provide proof of good health, now is a great time to reconsider this benefit.

Note: The current preexisting condition exclusion and 12-month exclusion period will still apply during the one-time open enrollment. Please read your certificate of coverage carefully to understand this benefit.

How do I take advantage of this opportunity?

To enroll or reduce your waiting period, complete the Long-Term Disability One-time Open Enrollment/Change Form and submit it to your personnel, payroll, or benefits office by March 31, 2019.

Paid Family & Medical Leave is Coming to Washington State

On behalf of Sheryl Gordon:

Starting in 2020, Washington State will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave to workers.  Washington State passed legislation in 2017 that established the “Paid Family and Medical Leave” (PFML) program that offers Washington workers the opportunity to receive partial wage replacement while on leave for qualifying family and/or medical events after establishing eligibility. This insurance program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, experience a serious illness, need to take care of a sick relative, and for certain military connected events.  If workers experience multiple events in a given year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, or up to 18 weeks if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy that results in incapacity.


Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program is organized as an insurance program, and like most insurance programs, it is funded through premiums.  Beginning on January 1, 2019, most employers will be required to withhold premiums from their employee’s paychecks, and many employers will be required to pay into the program too.

As directed by the Legislature, premium assessment begins on January 1, 2019 and benefits can be applied for starting January 1, 2020.

Great News

Green River College is opting to pay both the employer and the employee premiums to fund this new Paid Family & Medical Leave program! 

Details on How It Will Work

Eligible Washington workers will be able to use Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits starting in 2020.  The application and benefit payment process will be managed by the Washington State Employment Security Department.  For more information about PFML, go to www.paidleave.wa.gov

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Courtesy of US HealthWorks

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Reduce the Risk!

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful and progressive condition of the hand and arm. It causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms as a result of a pinched nerve in the wrist. A number of factors contribute to CTS, which may include anatomy of the wrist, repetitive motion and certain underlying health problems.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, you have a greater chance of getting CTS. Fortunately, there are specific hand and wrist exercises that can reduce the risk of being afflicted by this syndrome.


Do these exercises every hour. Exercising, taking breaks and stretching can minimize the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.


  • Finger Push Ups: Firmly press each fingertip to its counterpart on the other hand. Spread fingers as far apart as possible. “Steeple” the fingers by separating your palms while keeping your fingertips together.
  • Hand Bends: Hold one hand in front of you with your elbow straight and fingers extended. Use the other hand to apply pressure to your outstretched hand until the wrist and fingers are pointing down at the floor. Hold that position for 20 seconds.
  • The Shake: Shake your hands vigorously as if you are trying to dry them off. This will help to prevent cramping.

Learn More

Source: 3 Wrist Exercises to Prevent Carpal Tunnel, HealthLine.com

Health and Wellness

Posted on behalf of Julie French, Health Services Coordinator

Wellness means different things to different people. Sometimes it’s taking that 10 minutes to de-stress or its eating fresh from the farmers market. If you are deciding that you need a break from sitting too long at your desk there are a few healthy options for your wellness.

Fitness center and Weight room (in the gym)Weight

Summer Hours:

Monday – Thursday 12pm-12:50pm

Free and open to all employees during this time

Form or join a walking group; take the stairs; walk the trails; conduct a walking meeting; or take a stretching break!


exerciseThe RAC is open too!


Monday – Thursday  10am-7pm,

Friday 12pm-4pm,

Sunday from 12pm-4pm.

The hours will remain the same until the start of fall quarter.

We anticipate that the number of students using the facility will be much lower than what we have seen in previous quarters so it would be a great time to come and test out a RAC quarterly pass! A quarterly pass is $50.00 and can be purchased for summer quarter starting Monday June 13th from the Cashiering Office. We also offer a $5.00 day pass for those just wanting to drop in occasionally for a group fitness class or to shoot some hoops.

Please send an email to mjones@greenriver.edu if you have any questions about the RAC!


Julie French
Health Services Coordinator
Prevention Education
Health Services
Green River College
12401 SE 320th ST
Auburn WA  98092-3699
253-833-9111 ext. 2430

Breathe easy – Green River is now tobacco-free!

Winners of the Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Drawing

Congratulations to Steve Brumbaugh, Kim Bouchard, Inja Parker and Mariena Mears for winning a Starbucks Gift Card courtesy of Marshall Sampson!


Steve Brumbaugh, Biology

The Annual Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Notice was sent again this year (as annual notices are wont to) to all employees of Green River College.

According to the Department of Education,“While the regulations do not place an affirmative duty on IHEs [Institutions of Higher Education] to ensure that employees read the materials, in keeping with the spirit of the regulations, institutions should take steps to encourage employees to read the policies.”

kimbouchard copy 2

Kim Bouchard, English

What better source of encouragement to maintain a drug-free school environment is there than a Starbucks Gift Card?

One lucky winner from every employee group (Full-Time Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, Classified Staff, and Exempt Staff) was selected at random for a prize from those who read the notice and answered the following correctly:

One of the common complications of the use or abuse of this drug is a ‘bad trip’

The correct answer was of course “Hallucinogens,” “LSD,” or any other acceptable variation.

Inja Parker

Inja Parker, Financial Aid

As an institution receiving federal grant money, we are required by law to maintain a drug-free work place. The supporting laws and regulations along with the relevant consequences for violating them are laid out clearly in the notice.

Drug abuse and addiction is a serious matter and the notice contained a wealth of information about the effects of drugs and alcohol and ways to seek help with addiction.

Find out more from the Department of Education by clicking here.


It’s Flu Shot Time!

Posted on behalf of Health Services.

It’s that time of year again. We are well into the quarter and remember it takes a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to give you the resistance. Planning ahead for the flu season is a good idea.

Flu Shot Time

The next visit from Seattle Visiting Nurse Association is schedule for:

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015
    4:30pm-6:00pm in SA, St. Helens room

Don’t forget to review the Patient Consent Form and Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). Completion of the Patient Consent form prior to the clinic helps for a smooth flow and decreased wait time. Lastly, here’s some promotional items on No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine and FLU F.A.C.T.S. t o be aware of.

If you are not using your insurance coverage they take only check or cash (28.00). For more information contact Julie French.

Get Ready for Flu Season!

Flu season is here again, so make sure to don your NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) gear before leaving the house!Flu Season

Or, thanks to Julie French from Health Services, you can consider getting a flu shot right here on campus:

Seattle Visiting Nurse Association will be providing flu immunization for Green River affiliates this year in the St. Helens Room (SA Student Affairs and Success Center formerly known as the Lindbloom Center). The clinic is scheduled for:

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 8:00am – 10:00am & Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 4:30pm – 6:00pm

You can expect an email soon from Julie with the necessary Patient Consent forms, HIPPAA Notice of Privacy and other flu prevention materials.

Without insurance the fee is 28.00 cash or check.

If you are interested in learning more about the flu, the CDC has a ton of facts for curious readers and people who enjoy movies like Outbreak and Contagion.

Spring (and SmartHealth) Is In the Air!

There’s nothing like late spring in Washington


The weather is perfect, the mountains are calling, the water is sparkling. It’s a great time to be outdoors, to enjoy locally grown foods, and be grateful that we live in such a beautiful, wondrous place. And SmartHealth has four new challenges to help you do just that—all while making your well-being a priority AND working towards shaving $125 off your annual medical deductible.  When you reach 2,000 total points by June 30, 2015 you’ll qualify.


Those points really do add up fast!

Here’s how easy it is…

  • Hold a Walking Meeting: Just say no to the conference room! Take a stroll to talk shop and enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. (200 points)
  • Indoor No More: Get out in the sunshine to enjoy an hour of outdoor exercise at least once a week. (up to 500 points)
  • Plant a Garden: There’s nothing like fresh fruits and vegetables you grow yourself. Unleash you inner farmer and you’ll soon enjoy the bounty! (300 points)
  • Mindful Mondays: Every Monday, take at least two five-minute breaks to stop, look, listen, and reflect. (up to 500 points).

Visit www.smarthealth.hca.wa.gov and join a warm weather challenge now!

To Take a Sick Day…or Not to Take a Sick Day

The following is a quick recap of my adventures in believing I could handle it all…while being sick.


Yes, it is possible to go through an entire bottle of DayQuil in a few days.

My son had just finished being taken to urgent care for an asthma and coughing related concern. Through the span of about a week he had gone through sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achy head, losing his voice, and difficulty breathing. As if that weren’t enough, my wife shared some of the same symptoms. Pretty soon these symptoms came my way and…I ignored them.

Sick Son

This little guy is patient zero.

Looking back, I’m not sure why I ignored them though. Perhaps I simply wasn’t in the right frame of mind to begin to even recognize them in myself. Perhaps I was focused on taking care of others who had been sick at home. Perhaps I was preoccupied by all that needed to be done in the office and didn’t have time to be distracted by something as trivial as being sick.

Back in the day, I grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington (in case you haven’t seen my childhood photograph on our staff page), there was no such thing a sick day. Things simply needed to get done. I guess I’m equal parts stubborn,  motivated to contribute to the whole, and driven to deliver on what is expected, not matter what.


While medicine is important…so is a 2-for-1 special on candy.

And then it hit me. Not only did I get sick but I didn’t get better over the course of a week-and-a-half. I was coughing uncontrollably, my throat hurt, and I must have bought five boxes of Kleenex (for the bedroom, the living room, the car, the office, etc.). On top of all of that, I lost my voice. Thinking of only myself, I could have chugged right along. However, it was the looks around the office that got me thinking. It was sitting in meetings and watching others inch slowly away from my chair. It was coughing more than a few times during my first presentation to the Board of Trustees.


Just me in the doctor’s office. I actually asked but the doctor didn’t want to take a selfie with me.

Perhaps not in the right order, I completed all necessary things in the office, scheduled a doctor’s appointment, and took a sick day. As it turns out I wasn’t dying (although I felt like it) and was given a 10-day supply of antibiotics. In the end I believe I took 2.5 days of sick leave and felt sick around 7 days in total. The moral of this story is that everyone has their own work ethic. Everyone must also answer to a supervisor who sets expectations for what must be completed in any given week. Luckily for me, my supervisor was completely supportive of the time I felt necessary to be out of the office, simply asking if there was anything that needed to be picked up by other staff members while I was out.

At the Doctor's Office

Only 358 people ahead of me…

If you find yourself in the same predicament as I did, I would suggest touching base with your supervisor to quickly discuss how you are feeling, the workload that should be adjusted while you are out, and finally determining if professional help (seeing a doctor) might be a next step. Your coworkers will also thank you for not spreading additional germs in the office environment.


A 10-day supply of antibiotics. Now I just need to wake up every 4 hours.