With the rising cost of health care, many businesses are looking for ways to contain costs and encourage a healthy workforce. Holland Hospital’s Worksite Wellness program gives them a way to do both at once.
Worksite Wellness gives employees the opportunity to obtain health services where they spend much of their day – at work. Through a partnership with Holland Hospital, 25 local businesses now offer the program, customized to include everything from educational seminars, health screenings and smoking-cessation classes to one-on-one wellness coaching and disease management. All are provided on-site by a team of Holland Hospital health-promotion professionals.
For Jerry Cassidy, a machine technician at Gentex Corporation, Worksite Wellness has helped him lose 60 pounds and get his diabetes under control. He meets regularly with a registered nurse, who monitors his progress and coaches him on diet, exercise, and good blood sugar control. Between visits they communicate often by email.
“She goes over my medications and makes suggestions for improvement. She even suggests changes to my doctor,” says Cassidy, who has reduced his A1c score (average blood sugar level over the past 3 months) from 11 to 6.4 – a significant improvement.
About 1,700 employees take advantage of Gentex’s wellness program and fitness center, says Kim Busscher, wellness coordinator for the multinational corporation’s Zeeland headquarters. Three years ago Gentex began offering employees credits on their health-insurance premiums for participating in wellness activities; next year the company will “raise the bar” by basing employee incentives on individual achievement of results-based outcomes, says Busscher.
Benefits go both ways
The benefits to workers are obvious: better health and higher morale. But employers also stand to gain by having lower health care costs and improved productivity. Studies show that for every dollar a business invests in health promotion, it saves $3 in reduced health care costs and almost $6 in lower absenteeism.
“Gentex has definitely seen a return on our investment,” Busscher says. “Every year the ROI increases incrementally as more and more employees see and experience the value of participating in our wellness program.”
Bruce Los, vice president of human resources at Gentex, points out that cost savings are not the only—or the biggest—benefit of Worksite Wellness. “More important, it has built awareness among our employees of the importance of not just knowing about their health, but taking positive action to improve their health so they are happier, healthier and more productive in all areas of their life.”
For more information about the Worksite Wellness program, call the Holland Hospital Center for Good Health at 616.394-3344.