What makes the numbers significant is that they came after just two years of a wellness program and within one year of an integrated disease management program.
The study of the BP Wellness Program is the first to demonstrate a positive return on investment of such a program within two years. "This information is often needed for employers to build a business case for continued investment in programs," the researchers wrote.
Writing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the authors said the program yielded an estimated monthly savings of $60.65 per wellness participant and $214.66 per disease management participant.
"This analysis of a comprehensive PHM program demonstrates that a financial return of more than $3 in medical and pharmacy cost savings was returned for every dollar invested after 1 year of DM and 2 years of wellness program implementation," the researchers wrote. "This study adds to the handful of recently published studies demonstrating strong financial impact results within the first 3 years of implementation of a comprehensive PHM program."
The study sample included 18,268 employees, as well as 11,374 partners and 8,679 early retirees. The focus was on the program year that ran from January 2011 through December 2011.
The components of the program that were evaluated included:
- A health assessment questionnaire.
- A call with a health care professional that focused on reviewing an individual's health assessment questionnaire results or orienting individuals to various program opportunities.
- Web-based health education classes and programs.
- Physical activity campaigns.
- Biometric screening.
- Telephone-based and mail-based life management coaching programs.
- Disease management coaching.
The employer also created a culture of health through healthy vending and cafeteria options, on-site and near-site physical activity options, local wellness activities, and a cross-functional internal wellness council. Family members were encouraged to join employees in physical activities during the workday through a flexible work-time policy.
"Although these findings are impressive, they represent only a portion of the total potential value of such programs," the authors wrote. "Existing research indicates that strong PHM programs may also result in benefits such as lower workers' compensation injury rates and costs, lower disability rates and costs, lower absenteeism, higher employee engagement with their employer, higher worker productivity, improved safety, and higher quality of life for program beneficiaries."
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 29, 2013
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