States Begin Implementing Programs to Fight Chronic Diseases

Aug. 4, 2009
States are exploring programs to combat the chronic diseases that account for more than 75 percent of all health care costs, including the states,’ according to a new Issue Brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).

State Employee Health Management Initiatives looks at initiatives being implemented by states to curb rising costs for health care while continuing to provide health benefits to their employees. Recognizing the high costs of health care, states – which collectively employ more than 4 million people –increasingly are offering health management programs to improve employee wellness. In fact, states have played integral roles in launching such initiatives, including spearheading employee screening programs, providing financial and non-incentives to live healthier and creating coordinated systems of care and prevention to reduce the burden of chronic diseases.

“States are increasingly introducing health management programs to their employees in an effort to prevent and manage costly conditions and improve employees’ overall health,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “Governors recognize that these programs not only make for healthier, more productive employees but can also help stem rising health care costs.”

This Issue Brief highlights state efforts in:

  • Catching diseases early with screenings;
  • Providing motivation through health coaching programs;
  • Creating incentives for healthier lifestyles; and
  • Managing high-risk employees.

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