Local fitness expert takes action to help curb rising health care costs in the workplace
By Laure Gelis-Diaz (C.E.O of Pro-Active On-Site Corporate Fitness)
Well, here it is — the Health Care Reform and Control Act. Beginning January 1, 2014 , every individual will be required to have “minimum essential coverage” through individual market, employer-provided or certain other coverage (e.g., Medicare or CHIP).
It is clear that a major reason for the rising cost of health care in the United States is that Americans using the health care system are living longer, and due to poor lifestyle choices, Americans are among the most unhealthy individuals in the world. Lifestyle challenges, including obesity, smoking, drug abuse, and physical inactivity have contributed to an increased use of our health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75 percent of an employer’s health care costs and productivity losses are related to employee lifestyle choices.
As a result of this, many employers have refocused their thought processes toward preventive care — A.O Smith, global leader applying innovative technology and energyefficient solutions to products marketed worldwide, is one of the largest employers in North America and was voted “Top work place 2010” by the Journal Sentinel Milwaukee. A.O Smith employer, Human Resources management and strategy is already ahead on the matter and is taking action with local Fitness expert Laure Gelis-Diaz designing a fitness boot camp and wellness program 2 times a week for every employee in the company. A.O Smith has refocused their thought processes toward preventive care. Because utilization is a problem, A.O Smith employers offer a program that encourages employees to change lifestyle habits that will decrease utilization. Thus, the idea of wellness programs in A.O Smith Global Corporation was born with the help of one of the best Wellness and Fitness program in North America: Pro-Active On-Site Corporate Fitness. (www.ProactiveBootcamp.com).
What is a wellness program and why should employers be aware of its benefits?
Laure Gelis-Diaz, C.E.O of Pro-Active, came up with a complete wellness program that is dedicated to make important changes in the some of the largest U.S and Europeans companies, including the following:
Annual health and lifestyle assessments;
- Health results evaluation session (group workshop);
- Lunch’n Learn
- Set individual goals and action plan;
- Referral of high-risk persons (i.e., high blood pressure) for needed care;
- Opportunity for employees to participate in risk reduction interventions and health enhancement programs such as blood pressure reduction, weight control, fitness, cholesterol reduction, and wellness campaigns;
- Monthly tracking/accountability programs to monitor progress toward goals, including exercise logging, health events, health screening, self study projects, and wellness challenges; and
- Annual health outcome reports showing changes in whole organizations.
- On-Site Fitness Classes, open to every level of fitness and really diversified, including: Bootcamp, Yoga, Kickboxing, Running/walking groups, Circuit training, Aerobic, Zumba, Pilate….
Other popular offers include health screenings, health fairs, subsidized flu shots, and health risk assessments and subsidized or discounted off-site programs or memberships.
Do wellness programs make sense? The Wellness Council of America says they do. It estimates that a $1 investment in a wellness program saves $3 in health care costs.
Pro-Active Milwaukee experts gave 6 benefits to implementing a worksite wellness program to its employees:
Reason #1: Reduction in Health Care Costs
Reason #2: Reduced Sick Leave Use
Reason #3: Longer Work Week For Employees Leads to Larger Health Concerns
Reason #4: Increased Technology Leading To New Health Concerns
Reason #5: Decreased Stress Levels
Reason #6: Workforce Diversification
There are no easy answers to the ever increasing health care costs. Wellness programs may be the answer. Programs that encourage and reward lifestyle changes are more likely to withstand scrutiny than those that penalize for poor lifestyle choices. And, as with any new idea, it is imperative to monitor the program to ensure that it is actually reaching the goals that it is designed to reach. For example, monitoring whether employees are making better lifestyle decisions and whether they are using group health plan less frequently.
The primary goal of Pro-Active On-Site Corporate Fitness is to create lasting changes to unhealthy behaviors that will prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer.
Because 80 percent of health care costs borne by employers are a result of health conditions that are PREVENTABLE, really changing the wellness profile of a group is key to employees’ health and employer health costs.
Contact: Laure Gelis-Diaz at 314-646-9181 or Frenchfitness@hotmail.com for more information