Health is an important asset that many of us take for granted. An individual’s health not only affects them on many personal levels it also affects employers, in the form of attendance, performance, and benefit costs. When unhealthy lifestyles are chosen it often results in a rise in costs for both the employee and the employer. The cost to employees is losing their health, and the cost to employers is rising healthcare costs.
In May of 2004 Michigan Surgeon General, Kimberly Wisdom released a Prescription for a Healthier Michigan to address the overall health of the state and how the current unhealthy lifestyle of the population affects the healthcare costs in the area.
This one-hundred forty-five-page document was in response to a 2002 study commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The MEDC study concluded that Michigan has a higher than average population of unhealthy citizens within its workforce and state and that these unhealthy populations are the major contributors to our ever-rising health care costs.
It is clear that something needs to be done, but what? From the 1980s to the early 1990s, employer-offered wellness programs were highly promoted to encourage a healthy workforce. These programs were hurriedly implemented into the business world with little focus on who, what, when, where, and why.
Who should participate, what health risks our employee base consists of, and where should we focus our attention to make the most impact were never thought out critically. The result, unfortunately, was that most of these earlier programs failed miserably.
We offer to use our critical thinking skills to successfully implement and maintain a series of healthy lifestyle programs that will motivate participation, make an economic impact on health care costs, and improve the overall health of our local communities.