Helping Employees Helps You
To create a healthier workforce, some businesses are turning to preventative medicine options and resources for their employees. These can range from Weight Watchers programs and fitness classes to stress-reduction techniques.
AvMed is a not-for-profit healthcare plan that provides individual and family coverage as well as Medicare Advantage coverage and coverage for employer groups all over the state. It offers many health-conscious resources and encourages employees to participate.
“As a health plan and an employer, wellness is a very important focus for AvMed,” said Kay Ayers, senior vice president of human resources and facilities at AvMed Health Plans. “Engagement in one’s personal health is one of the key contributors to individuals staying and/or improving their health.”
Ayers said she is seeing more engaged and active employees, as well as healthy competition among employees at different wellness events.
Although free access to wellness programs is often enough to motivate employees to participate and take advantage of these resources, AvMed provides other incentives as well.
“We provide our associates free biometric screenings and, for their participation in the screenings and different quarterly wellness activities, a gift card or contribution to their Health Savings Account,” Ayers said.
No Insurance? No Problem!
For some small businesses, it is not always fiscally viable to provide insurance for employees, but they still want to provide employees with healthcare security and medical benefits. Fortunately, there has been a rise in healthcare facilities like Celebrate Primary Care that are offering services specifically targeted at small businesses by providing access to care without requiring insurance.
“What we’re doing is providing a monthly membership-based service per employee that employers are paying for,” said Della Tuten, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, co-owner and provider at Celebrate Primary Care. “It’s a tax deduction for them.”
Celebrate Primary Care, located in Gainesville, provides services for about 80 percent of what happens in health care. “We definitely want people to still have insurance, but we won’t turn away anyone who doesn’t have insurance,” Tuten said.
Many of their patients are utilizing terribly high deductible insurance plans in addition to their services. These cover major health issues or emergent ailments like a broken leg.
Right now, Celebrate Primary Care has 30-35 employers utilizing its services, and more and more are hearing about it through word of mouth. However, Celebrate Primary Care prides itself on a dedication to personalized medicine. To maintain this, it caps the number of patients at 600.
“We are eliminating a lot of the time away from work for the employers,” Tuten said. “We’re helping by keeping their employees healthy and getting them quick access to care so it doesn’t spiral out of control.”
Motivation to Change
Some may question these approaches and wonder whether they are necessary or why they should be motivated to offer their employees extra benefits.
An employee is only considered useful if he or she is present to do work. Since over half of all American adults have at least one chronic disease and one in three have multiple chronic conditions (per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website), there is a pretty good chance that an employee will be physically unable to work at some point.
According to the CDC, chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems.
Small primary care facilities, like Celebrate Primary Care, allow patients to get the frequent appointments and care necessary for detecting and preventing a chronic disease from ever happening.
Likewise, utilization of preventative medical resources like those that AvMed provides encourages employees and gives them the tools to stay healthy and be more productive employees overall.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KALEY THOMAS is a senior at the University of Florida graduating this May. She aspires to attend law school in the fall. When she is not writing articles, she can be found at Squirrel Ridge dog park with her foster pit bull Ellie. Kaley is happiest sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix with friends.