Larry Chapman’s Blog

Results-Driven Worksite Wellness

Solution Set #2: Worker Health Cost Worksheet

Source: Chapman Institute

Author: Larry Chapman

I have a vivid memory of sitting across from the CEO of a company with 18,000+ employees after I had asked him how much he was spending per year on worker health.  His reply initially startled me. He said, “I have no idea how much worker health is costing us.”  Unfortunately, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to most of us. Employers just don’t know even what cost elements should go into that analysis nor what dollar magnitude of costs they are experiencing.

How much should your company spend on employee wellness?  A related and important question for all of us!  The answer to that question is directly related to the current cost of worker health to the organization.  This Connections newsletter edition contains a downloadable Solution Set document that is a worksheet to help you determine how much your company is currently spending per year on each employee’s health and their family member’s health. Most of this information is available from your own financial management staff, but you have to ask for it and put it together for presentation to senior management.

The current typical national numbers are somewhere between $22,000 and $45,000 per full-time employee per year. That amount consists of health plan cost, sick leave absenteeism cost, workers’ compensation cost, disability insurance costs, and presenteeism costs or losses.  If your senior managers know how much your organization is paying on average for these costs they are usually a lot more willing to spend money on wellness programming.

Remember, as a senior manager I can much more easily justify spending $500 per employee per year on an employee wellness program if I realize we are currently spending $32,000 per employee per year on their health and well-being. Especially if that $500 will be spent to help reduce the rate of future growth associated with the $32,000 per employee per year cost.

Why is this important?

This document is important because it lays out a detailed process for you to develop your own organizational data about your current cost of worker health.  This is critical to management’s reaction to your budget request for wellness programming. If you don’t know how much employee health issues are currently costing your company then you don’t have an adequate economic context for senior management to weigh in on your wellness budget. No context – no perspective – no budget.

This kind of economic information is also important because it makes it much more likely that senior management will want to have greater ownership over the wellness initiative rather than transfer that responsibility to an outside vendor.  If wellness has little economic value to the organization, it is more likely that management with seek to outsource the program leading usually to more mediocre results.

What can you do with this document?
Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, read it over and clarify how to proceed with the data collection and analysis process.
  • Ask you FM staff for total amounts and the size of the population that generated the data points.
  • Then decide how you will get the totals into – per employee per year (PEPY) costs.
  • Put the PEPY costs together into a pie chart for presentation to senior managers.
  • Add all the costs together to come up with the total costs per employee per year (PEPY).
  • Make some projections on how those costs will likely grow next year.
  • Request your wellness budget on a PEPY basis and identify the amount as a percentage of the current worker health cost. (Usually less than 2%)
  • Use these numbers and this data in reporting to management and in the evaluation of your wellness program.
  • Use consistent methodology when measuring worker health cost in subsequent years.

In summary, this 2-page document can be used to guide your analysis of your own organization’s worker health costs.  This information is critical to senior management’s willingness to fund employee wellness efforts.  Without this kind of information, it is very difficult to get adequate funding of employee wellness efforts.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

New National Physical Activity Guidelines

Source:  Department of Health and Human Services and the American Medical Association

Author:  Larry Chapman

80% of U.S. adults and adolescents are not active enough. That’s a major problem for the future health of Americans. The federal Department of Health and Human Services and the American Medical Association have examined the scientific evidence and are promulgating a new set of guidelines regarding physical activity.

In summary: Preschool-aged children (3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Solution Set #1: Quick Senior Management Survey on Wellness

Source: Chapman Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

It’s always surprising to me to find out how few employee wellness programs have a clear set of management endorsed goals and objectives.  No guilt intended!   Often, I find it’s because senior managers never do the work to arrive at a clear consensus on what they want their wellness program to achieve or the results they expect.

This problem represents one of the most significant challenges facing those who are responsible for worksite wellness efforts.  If there is no clear senior management consensus on what these programs are expected to do, then any kind of activity is seen to be of equal value.  The unfortunate outcome tends to be a heavily “tactical” approach to wellness, lackluster programming, minimal budgets, relatively low management priority, and relatively low employee participation.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Wellness in the Age of the Smartphone

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

Few technological innovations have had as much impact on our day to day lives as the Smartphone and the ever ubiquitous screen presence. Unprecedented connectivity to news sources, larger communities of interest, instantaneous contact with family members through text messaging, notifications, reminders, email access, capability of benefiting from more than 320,000 apps, internet access, unlimited music streaming, Alexia and photography at our fingertips to name just a few. What is not to like? It’s not that this technology is inherently bad…its that it is probably too good!

Like all innovations in human culture and particularly technology-based innovations, we usually go through a predictable pattern of awareness, adoption, use, mis-use and discovery of the cautionary side of the innovation involved. Smartphones and screen technologies are no different. They can richly benefit our lives, but they also come with a cost. This edition of Connections brings one of the first reports on the opportunity costs or cautionary tales associated with excessive Smartphone use.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Fighting Obesity Requires Collective Solutions

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

Most of us know how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off long term.  After all, this is the land of the Yo-Yo diet.  It seems that the U.S. is in the center of a “perfect storm” regarding obesity and this edition of Connections provides a candid recognition by the medical community of the failure of clinical efforts to help people attain and then maintain healthy weight status.

In the Report from the Catalyst project at New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM), a large number of clinicians and experts were surveyed on their assessment and what they think it will take to help Americans reach healthy weight status. Their primary conclusion shouldn’t surprise us too much.  They found that almost everyone surveyed believes we have failed miserably and that there needs to be a host of collective solutions to achieve any substantial progress in solving our unhealthy body weight problem as a nation.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Wellness 2030: A Look at the Future of Wellness

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

With the rapid process of change impacting American society and for that matter, all the other developed nations, it seems appropriate to take a quick look at a somewhat edgy look at the future ahead.  This report on Wellness in 2030 proposes trends and events that are likely to affect our wellness efforts and the demands that shape our careers and our field. Take a few minutes to peruse this futuristic report and note what resonates with your own perceptions.

In the Report, the pursuit of happiness is seen as the major way wellness will be manifested in the future.  Five key trends are seen as shaping this projected vision of future reality.  Several thought-provoking insights in the Report do deserve more attention.  However, as in all things future-oriented, time will tell.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Meeting the Major Programming Challenges: Introducing “Solution Sets”

Source: Chapman Institute

Author: Larry Chapman

There are a range of major challenges facing virtually all worksite wellness professionals and programs. After conducting a number of formal and informal surveys and a rather extensive literature search process we have identified approximately 16 major challenges that virtually all worksite-based wellness programs face.

In response we have now developed solution set documents for each of those 16 major challenges and have integrated them into the 4 levels of WellCert certification training. This edition of Connections newsletter introduces the 4 major challenges and the recommended solution document for the Level 1 CWPC Course to all WellCert members. The first 4 Solution Set documents are combined into the downloadable PDF for this Connections newsletter. Word versions of each document are available on our website.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

HIPAA in the 21st Century

Source: JAMA Editorial

Author: Larry Chapman

HIPAA has been on the health care scene since 1996. It created some often-awkward change throughout our entire health care system when first introduced. Covered entities had new and fairly extensive requirements to protect the health care consumer from unauthorized disclosures of their personal health information. Now 22 years later we are realizing that with the advent of Facebook, Instagram, email, online marketing, and a myriad number of other communication devices and platforms we need to revisit HIPAA for the 21st Century.

Two well-known lawyer educators have weighed in on the challenges and needs surrounding health information protections post-HIPAA with a sensitive concern for not stifling the emerging utility of “Big Data” analysis potential and cooperating with consumer-directed disclosure.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Is Alcohol Safe to Consume?

Source: The Lancet

Author:  Larry Chapman

Almost every culture in human history has used alcohol in some way. But, what level of alcohol use is considered “safe” or “low risk” for us today? Each nation has adopted somewhat different guidelines for what constitutes a safe or low risk level of alcohol consumption. For Americans, according to the CDC, weekly consumption of alcoholic beverages should not exceed 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. That’s 7 drinks per week for women and 14 drinks per week for men to maintain a safe or low risk status regarding alcohol consumption.

Now, a landmark study has just been published in the British medical journal Lancet that examined 83 prospective studies on the effects of alcohol on human health, and particularly all-cause mortality, with 599,912 subjects and some 5.4 million life years of follow-up observations. All this data was then run through a meta-analysis process. They found that for every drink over 5 per week (about 100 grams of alcohol per week) was associated with an average loss of 40 minutes of life. This result has profound implications for the health of Americans and of American workers.

The next step is for the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to examine this evidence and formally weigh in on what new advice on alcohol use should now be given to U.S. citizens by health professionals and authorities. In the meantime, it is probably prudent for wellness programs in U.S. employer settings to share these new findings with employees and their family members.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Declining Health-Related Quality of Life in the U.S.

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Author:  Larry Chapman

Unfortunately, some more bad news!  The health aspects of quality of life of Americans is clearly deteriorating.  This 10-year comparison showed a highly significant erosion of the perceived health-related quality of life ratings from a large national sample of adults (N = 79,402).  People are feeling worse about their health status and its impact on the quality of their lives.

This has relevance to our efforts in worksite wellness.  Many wellness programs have down-played their health emphasis and shifted to a “well-being” emphasis, but this national data questions the wisdom of that shift. The analysis of data from large national population surveys shows that for workers under the age of 55 approximately 22% of the erosion in their average rating of the quality of life was directly due to health or medical-related factors.  For those adults over the age of 55, fully 35% of the erosion was due to health or medical-related factors.

At a population-wide level, the major factors that have contributed to a perception of a lower quality of life by adult Americans were: medical (21.9%; obesity, cardiac disease, hypertension, arthritis, medical injury), economic (15.6%; financial crisis, job loss), substance use (15.3%; substance use disorder or marijuana use), mental health (13.1%; depression and anxiety disorders), and social (11.2%; partner, neighbor, or coworker problems) risks.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].