V What Could a Wellness Program for YOUR Company Look Like?
It becomes apparent that it is up to the employee to make proper lifestyle choices. This does not discount a health plan's obligation to help the employees become responsible healthcare consumers and engage them in their health and wellness (Walker, 2003, p.1). What a companies management can do for its employees to take care of themselves better, is to establish educational programs to assist them in the process. A beginning framework for a well developed wellness program could look like this:
Hire a Wellness Coach or Health Coach to help implement:
A. Individual Employee Assessment
Administration of Health Risk Appraisal through offering screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and other
basic risk factors. Self reporting of smoking, exercises and other habits.
B. Wellness Coaching
Offer wellness coaching to help employees who need assistance and motivation in formulating their personalized wellness
action plan. One-on-one consultations to explain results to individuals and suggest changes, such as weight loss or more exercise.
C. Establish a Health Coaching Program
To motivate and guide lifestyle changes in workers at high risk for chronic conditions.
D. Monthly Wellness Workshops
Ongoing employee education and motivation through a monthly workshop series covering a series of topics
E. Wellness newsletter or e-newsletter
Wellness newsletter could be distributed with every pay check.
F. Company-Wide Need Assessment
Identify company wide wellness needs and design programs accordingly.
And lastly, when the employee takes the HRA, they are directed to the right health coach, addressing the employees immediate need in order for them to move down the risk assessment ladder. Your company might not realize the success of Fairview's program which has earned them several national awards. Applying the same potentials of savings as in Crandon's Elcho Division to a company with $2 million in health care expenses, after implementation of a comprehensive wellness program, your company could realize a savings in the range of $140,000 to $180,000 annually. If your company could realize savings comparable to Fairview, based on 700 employees, these cost reductions would amount to between $81,200 and $324,800 per fiscal year. These numbers are very encouraging taking into account that your company will be proactive in management of its health care costs providing future savings, when national health care costs will continue to spin out of control. Employees, once they trust management, will participate in a wellness program, as shown by Fairview's experience, participation went from 56% of employees in 2001, to 86% of employees at the end of 2004.
A quote by Mark McConnell, vice president of the employer solution group at American Healthways Inc., a disease management firm based in Nashville, Tennessee, sums up the healthcare crisis employers are facing best:
"The cost of doing nothing is much greater than the cost of this wellness program," referring to their recently implemented wellness program.
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Teaching People to be Well
Part 3: A Successful Model of a Wellness Program
Part 4: Creating a Culture of Wellness, the Long Term Return On Investment?
part 5: What Could a Wellness Program for your Company Look Like?
Part 6: References
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