MemorialCare Health System Articles
How employers can take the lead in improving employee wellness and lowering health care costsAppeared in Smart Business Orange County | March 2012
The workplace is where most adults typically spend half of their waking hours and can have a powerful impact on one’s health. Thanks to efforts in engaging employees in workplace wellness, many businesses are promoting healthier lifestyles while also reducing absenteeism, lowering health and workers’ compensation costs and improving employee health, morale and productivity.
To learn more, Smart Business turned to Tammie Brailsford, RN, MemorialCare Health System executive vice president and chief operating officer, whose passion for employee wellness has created an environment of improved health among the system’s 11,000 employees.
Why should businesses invest in wellness?
Costs can be minimal — from $50 to $500 or more per employee annually, plus incentives for health improvement. Instead of building a fitness center, offer employees a pedometer, mealtime walking programs and sessions on achieving better health. It’s as simple as selecting a salad, taking stairs or a 10-minute break to walk. Leadership involvement is critical to success. Your participation and engagement create ‘permission’ among employees to join the conversation and build health and wellness behaviors, like activity, into their daily work life.
What is the impact of overweight employees?
Can you describe The Good Life?
Other innovations include walking rather than sitting meetings, installing Wii sports stations to encourage activity during breaks and walking workstations. The latest evidence shows us that ongoing support of a dedicated onsite health coaching team can help employees with conditions like diabetes and hypertension make important life changes, lessen long-term complications and improve medical outcomes. Employees receive paycheck incentives by participating in confidential health assessments that help identify opportunities to improve health by setting and achieving personal goals. In the last year alone, employees walked 350,000 miles in walking challenges and achieved a combined total of 4,000 pounds in weight reduction.
What outcomes can wellness achieve?
Where can an employer start?
MemorialCare hospitals can help employers with information and resources on low- to no-cost screenings, prevention and healthy lifestyle sessions at your company as well as in the community. And Memorialcare.org provides a number of online health risk assessments and wellness tips on the journey to better health.
Tammie Brailsford, RN, is executive vice president and chief operating officer, MemorialCare Health System. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.
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