Chamber Report Praises Wellness Programs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Partnership for Prevention, May 22 released a report concluding that employers can reduce overall health care costs by incorporating employee health prevention and wellness programs into their business.

The report – "Leading by Example: Leading Practices for Employee Health Management" – details successful approaches by CEOs of 18 companies on programs and measures to improve employee health and productivity. Companies profiled range from giants such as Caterpillar and Intel Corp. to firms such as Buffalo Supply, a medical equipment supplier in Colorado with fewer than two dozen employees.

“These companies demonstrate a primary shift in focus from the cost of health care to the total value of health,” said Partnership for Prevention President John Clymer. “The CEOs who are featured in the publication along with senior level executives of their organizations are spreading the word about how businesses can gain bottom line benefits from investing to keep employees healthy.”

According to the Chamber of Commerce, employers for years have attempted to control the rising cost of health care and are realizing how important it is to not only focus on the health insurance plan's costs but also on the health status of the employees in the plan.

Randy Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the Chamber of Commerce, said the new guide will help companies contain health care costs and improve productivity and boost employee satisfaction.

“By incorporating wellness, prevention and chronic disease management into their traditional health plans, employers are quickly recognizing results such as fewer sick days, greater worker productivity and lower health insurance costs,” Johnson said. “The Chamber urges CEOs, business owners and other decision-makers to adopt new strategies to contain health care costs and increase productivity.”

“A Powerful Tool for Businesses”

The Chamber said it is committed to educating employers on what they can do – with a top-down commitment from management – to incorporate wellness and disease management programs into their own health benefits. Regardless of company size, the organization said, all employers can realize the benefits of incorporating wellness and prevention into the workplace.

“By providing real examples and strategies from employers of every size, this report will serve as powerful tool for businesses to learn from each other and incorporate new practices," Johnson said. “The profiles in the report clearly illustrate how important it is for businesses to invest in employee health.”

The report can be viewed at http://www.prevent.org/LBE.

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