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
- 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 that successful 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.