While this post isn’t necessarily local to Austin since its an encouragement for all readers everywhere to join their company’s Wellness Program (WP), I will highlight one local Austin-based company and its WP with which I’m personally involved. I cannot over-stress the importance of getting involved with your company’s WP. Beyond the obvious health benefits, there can also be some great financial benefits. The immediate and personalized help provided directly to you can truly be a life changing event.
Depending on your company and the offerings provided, the benefits can range from discounts on gyms to money back in your pocket for health insurance discounts. Dell’s WP, formally called Well At Dell, won the 2013 C. Everett Koop National Health Award for Efforts to Improve Employee Health and Reduce Costs. Of the myriad of impressive results 2 of are particular interest; they have achieved an 80% participation rate and 10 of the tracked 12 health risks showed improvements with physical activity being one of the most-improved. I’ve personally been a part of this program for many years since my wife is a senior manager at Dell. Its a great program and provides substantial support and financial incentives to participants.
As of the writing of this blog there are no specific number of basic tenants to a WP. A 2013 RAND study released by the Department of Labor breaks company WPs into 3 parts; screening, prevention and health promotion http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/workplacewellnessstudyfinal.pdf. Another government funded initiative, HealthyPeople.gov calls out 5 elements of a WP; health education, supportive environment, integration, linkage to complimentary programs, and screening. Finally, the CDC released a paper in Dec 2012 with these 6 elements to a successful workplace WP; financial and organizational support, communication promoting healthy behavior, social support, supporting healthy lifestyles, incentives, and dedication to creating a healthier workforce http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0092.htm.
If you are a decision-maker for a local small business that does not have a WP, you should certainly investigate starting one. As of Jan 1, 2014, there are many financial benefits available to companies due to the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Small businesses are now eligible to get a portion of the $200 million Workplace Wellness Grant funding to establish a WP as well as get up to a 30% discount on employee health insurance costs for participants in a WP and this can go to 50% for tobacco cessation programs. http://www.healthlawguideforbusiness.org/incentives-wellness
If your company has a WP and you’re interested in getting financial support for renting our equipment, submit our business name to your WP Director and ask that we be added to the list of approved vendors. We’re more than happy to work with any Austin company in creating an equipment profile that is right for their employee’s needs. Should that not be possible for whatever reason, contact me directly and tell me you’ve read this post and I’ll work directly with you to make sure you get the exercise equipment you want to help you reach and/or maintain your health and fitness goals.
DrKPMay Feb 16 2014