Wellness programs save money and they save lives. Health care leaders recently met in Boston to urge lawmakers to make work-based employee wellness programs easier to implement. Preventable illness is draining billions of dollars from the economy, said the health care leaders.
Work-based wellness programs are powerful tools for health, supporters told state representatives at a hearing of the Committee on Public Health. Wellness programs have:
Improved worker productivity and morale
Cut annual health inflation costs by 25 %
Reduced health risks
The experts, from companies like AstraZeneca, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Fidelity, alerted representatives to problems facing wellness programs.
Small businesses need financial help to set up wellness programs.
Low-income, minority workers have fewer wellness opportunities and more chronic illness.
Health care leaders and state representatives agreed thatsuccessful work-based wellness must be an important issue for 2009. The health care advocates recommended a number of government sponsored initiatives, including tax credits and leveraging of federal funds. Many experts also argued strongly against a “one-size-fits-all” approach, lobbying instead for extending help to small businesses who may need a more flexible approach to developing small-scale wellness plans.
What does this mean for directors and executives of work-based wellness programs?
Be aware of the financial and political issues that have an impact on you and your clients.
Be vocal in expressing your needs to your state and local representatives.