By Bill Purcell
Employers are an important lever in the effort to improve overall population health – perhaps one that has been the most undervalued in many conversations about improving the health status of our population.
The fact is, most of us spend the largest part of our waking hours at work. If we want to truly move the needle on the overall health of our population, we need to meet people where they are. In many cases, this can happen at and through their workplaces.
In this country, many of us rely on our employers for health insurance, and many employers view providing health insurance – a large and growing expense – as their primary contribution to their employees’ health and well-being. We’ve learned through recent work with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and FTI Consulting’s Center for Health Care Economics and Policy, where I serve as an advisory board member, that employers can also play a pivotal role in working as a partner with their employees – either to prevent the onset of chronic diseases or to better manage existing conditions.
The Nashville Region Health Competitiveness Report recently released by the Chamber and FTI, with the support of a cross-sector collaborative of Nashville-area providers, payors, the public sector, nonprofits, and businesses, serves as a major advance in our understanding of health as an economic issue. Nashville employers are losing more than $500 million a year in productivity because of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension – all of which can be significantly impacted through prevention and management.
And those are not the only ailments that are driving higher than average rates of absenteeism and presenteeism.
Read the rest of the story on The Tennessean.
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