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Policy Issue Brief - Workplace Wellness
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Issue

The workplace provides a unique opportunity to emphasize health promotion and offer clinical preventive services to employees.  ACPM is a strong supporter of workplace wellness programs that help to ensure a healthier workforce.

 

Background

Workplace wellness programs aim to promote health, prevent disease, and reduce injuries by making it easier to enjoy healthy lifestyle behaviors in the workplace.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Americans spend half of their waking hours at work and eat at least one of their daily meals there, providing a valuable, high-yield environment for health promotion initiatives.  Employers have also realized the benefits of workplace wellness programs through lower healthcare costs, decreased absenteeism, workers’ compensation savings, and the enhanced productivity that result from having a healthier workforce.  A meta-review of 56 published studies of worksite health promotion programs found an average of $5.81-to-$1 savings-to-cost ratio in reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs.[1]

 

Status
In response to ACPM advocacy efforts, the Affordable Care Act included several workplace wellness provisions aimed at expanding support for these important programs.   Effective January 1, 2014, employers will be permitted to vary premiums up to 30% of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards.  Between 2011-2015, $200 million will be awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to small employers to help defray the costs of implementing workplace wellness programs.  In addition, the CDC is conducting a national worksite wellness program survey to inform future recommendations to all businesses to on how to improve wellness in their workplace.

 ACPM supports further efforts to encourage wellness in the workplace and is a founding member of the United States Workplace Wellness Alliance (www.uswwa.org).





[1] Chapman LS. Meta-evaluation of worksite health promotion economic return studies: 2005 Update. Am J Health Promotion. 2005 Jul-Aug;19(6):1-11.


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