Workplace Wellness & Disease Management

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 8:00pm

For years, employers have attempted to control the rising cost of health care. Over the past few years, employers have realized the importance of focusing not only on the cost of the plan, but also the health status of employees in the plans. By incorporating wellness, prevention and chronic disease management into their traditional health plans, employers are quickly recognizing the results.

Those results include: fewer sick days; greater worker productivity; and, to the bottom line, lower health insurance costs. One study showed that workplace health programs present on average a 28% reduction in sick leave, a 26% reduction in health care costs, and a 30% reduction in worker's compensation and disability claims costs.

A key way to lower health care costs is improving employee health. The Chamber is committed to educating employers on what they can do – with a top-down commitment by management – to incorporate wellness and disease management programs into their own health benefits. This will improve the health and productivity of employees and it will better manage health care costs.

Large, small and mid-sized companies can all incorporate wellness and prevention into the workplace. Here are some ideas to begin your transition:

  • Water filters/delivery of water bottles;
  • Pedometers/walking competitions;
  • Gym membership discounts;
  • On-line health risk assessments;
  • Brown-bag lunch educational discussions;
  • On-site flu shots for employees;
  • On-site testing of cholesterol, blood pressure, and other risk factors;
  • Readily available educational materials for employees;
  • Low-fat/healthy snacks in vending machines/cafeteria;
  • Time off for doctor's visits;
  • Incentives for smoking cessation;
  • A walking course mapped out in the parking lot; and
  • 24-hour nurse hotlines to answer health-related questions.