The health concerns expressed by Texas employers in last year’s survey by the Texas Business Group on Health are once again making headlines with a new announcement made by the Vitality Institute Commission on Health Promotion and the Prevention of Chronic Disease in Working-Age Americans, highlighting that all companies should take health measures into consideration in their financial reports.
As D Healthcare Daily reported back then, the study, which was conducted by Towers Watson and by the Texas Business Group On Health, analyzed 73 companies, most of which are from the Fort-Worth region. The report highlighted some primary concerns expressed by Texas employers, such as the reward of a healthier lifestyle, as more than half of the employers mentioned they would like to reward measurable health improvements rather than participation in wellness activities. Employers also said they wanted to improve employee engagement in their health and wellness, since less than half of the companies participated in health evaluations, and less than 20 percent in other programs, such as weight management and tobacco-cessation programs. Another concern revealed was related to price transparency, which 42 percent of the employers noted a lack of in the industry. About 38 percent of the companies’ leaders also expressed a concern for focused employee education on personal health.
The recent recommendations announced by the Vitality Institute Commission and published by Jim Landers in the Dallas Morning News, reinforce the idea that health measures should be taken seriously by the companies. According to the information released in the Dallas Morning News article, the commission believes that they would save the nation $207 billion to $300 billion a year in healthcare costs if they followed these guidelines and took preventive health measures.
Currently, many companies have already chosen this path to improve their employees’ health, including Hunt Oil in Dallas, Nokia, and biotech organization such as Baylor College of Medicine and Fort Worth’s Alcon. Some of the health measures are blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar tests.
Dereck Yach, executive director of the Vitality Institute, explained that these tests are a way for businesses to enact a proactive attitude concerning health. “The moment a CEO requires you measure something…you manage it more carefully” and “action will be taken.”
In a community of 155 million American workers, employers are seen as important pieces in workers’ motivation towards health and in the reduction of illnesses, since initiatives and incentives can make a difference in preventing disease by encouraging smoking cessation, healthy diets, and exercise.
The commission recommends companies to include health measures by 2025.
The changes carried out by companies in employers health may need to accompanied by health services industry, according to the opinion given by Marianne Fazen, chief executive officer of the Texas Business Group on Health and the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health, last year, to Healthcare Daily, “this should be a wake-up call to the health services industry to focus on what’s most important to employers to help them continue to sponsor health benefits to their employees.”