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Jan 21 2014
Achieving Healthy Resolutions

A new year brings personal resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and eat better. For organizations, resolutions may include increasing revenue, lowering expenses and providing employee wellness programs. Unfortunately, only 8 percent of resolutions are successful.

Improving success takes collaboration of employees and employers, with wellness programs having a duel benefit. They lower long-term healthcare expenses, while helping employees with their resolutions. Investing in wellness is no different from investing in new equipment to manufacture more products.

New equipment should create more efficiency, thereby lowering costs and generating more revenue. Employee wellness does the same. Healthier employees are more efficient and productive, and an organization’s healthcare expenses are lowered in the long-term if employees are proactively doing “routine maintenance.”

This involves items such as an annual health risk assessment to better understand cholesterol or blood pressure issues; an annual physical for general health; and a colonoscopy for those aged 50 and over.

My friend went for his annual physical and discovered blocked arteries that could have caused a heart attack. The investment in the physical is a much lower expense than expenses related to a heart attack, which is why organizations should encourage employee wellness.

On the contrary, my parents were not diligent about their annual preventive exams. The result was both discovered they had cancer too late to do anything about it. The time of both of their diagnoses to their deaths was a total of three months. Much of which could have been avoided with proper healthcare, saving expenses and family stress.

A good organizational wellness program encompasses items such as: annual health risk assessments; employee coaching for those in moderate to high risk categories; dietitian coaching for proper nutrition; disease management coaching for those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol; wellness workshops; and wellness center discounted memberships.

While this seems extensive, a complete program such as this could be as low as $15-$25 per month per employee without wellness center memberships. Furthermore, organizations can positively impact employee health via an employee assistance program (EAP) for as little as $1.63 per month per employee.

Consider the amazing healthcare return on investment for a comprehensive wellness program compared to expenses related to heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes or other mental health issues. A simple resolution for organizations should be to expand or begin a wellness program to save money! This should be a core strategy in an organizational strategic plan.

For employees, begin exercising more, see a nutritionist to eat healthier, get your health risk assessment, and visit your primary care provider to have an annual physical. For those of certain ages, schedule your mammogram and colonoscopy.

All of these improve health and lower long-term healthcare expenses, benefitting you and your loved ones. When done effectively, employees and organizations can collaborate together to achieve their resolutions. My resolution to every person and organization is to enjoy good health.


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