Investing in a healthier life

by: Nichole Gunn June 25, 2010

Nash Health Care Systems is one of the many companies offering incentives to promote health and wellness among their employees. In an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle and motivate employees to get in shape, the North Carolina-based health care provider has extended an incentive-based wellness program and support system.

Katherine Capps, president of Health2 Resources, a health care consulting firm in Vienna, Va., says employers are beginning to realize “the benefits for the company far outweigh the costs”. The Rocky Mount Telegram writes that a health and present workforce is going to be a more productive workforce. Yet health and wellness programs only are effective if employees participate, according to Capps.

“It doesn’t do any good to have a health and wellness program, a gym, classes, nurse counselors or health coaches if your work force doesn’t participate in the programs that you offer. Incentives are used to encourage participation and they are used to encourage people to stay in the programs and to complete the programs,” Capps stresses. The article notes that incentives include reduced insurance premiums, cash, discounts, merchandise and even time off, ultimately reducing the company’s healthcare costs.

Acknowledging this, Nash Health Care has started a disease-management program called Nash for Life, which launched in April of 2009. This program is directed towards people with existing health conditions. They are granted registered nurses who act as health coaches, helping them manage their diseases and embrace healthier lifestyle habits. According to the paper, the program encourages participation by giving reduced, and even free medications.

The challenge of getting every single employee to participate in these particular wellness programs is undoubtedly trying. However, the importance that comes behind employees adopting healthier lifestyles is inevitable, and cannot go unnoticed.  In order to make that first step, companies must provide the tools for change and the proper incentives for employees, which enable them to conquer healthier lives.