About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Washington Post: Not Too Well

Yesterday The Washington Post published an article which said, essentially, that prevention programs cost more than they return in benefits. It says prevention often increases medical costs rather than reducing them.

Unfortunately, it's easy to misread the story, and this won't do the wellness industry much good.

The article has little bearing on the value of the key elements of a corporate wellness program--health-risk assessments (HRAs), healthy eating, exercise or stress reduction programs, smoking cessation, or wellness education or activities.

The article is really about the cost and benefit to the public of such things as screening colonoscopies for men 60 to 64 (cost effective) and treating everyone who has a tick bite as if they have Lyme disease (very costly compared to benefits). The measure used is amount of money spent vs. additional years of life.

But companies aren't (necessarily) focused on extending people's life (i.e., adding years between 82 and 85, though certainly if those are healthy years anybody would celebrate that goal).
Corporate wellness programs are about helping employees have a higher quality of life, reducing their risk of illness and disability--and ultimately saving the employer money through lower health care costs, higher productivity and lower turnover. The positive ROI (return on investment) of corporate wellness programs is well-established.

Plus don't forget the harder-to-count but significant benefits of improved morale, good will toward the employer, and having happier people around the workplace.
The Post article does nothing to question those conclusions.

Looking for information about wellness ROI? Follow these links to read just a few of my recent entries about corporate wellness return on investment.

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