Cityscape March 2014 : Page 4

Jeff Hovey | Director of Risk Services | Iowa League of Cities and IMWCA Guest’s Viewpoint l Wellness and the work place Iowa has set a goal of becoming the healthiest state by the year 2016. Healthier residents lead to a healthier workforce. A healthier workforce impacts the bottom line of not only businesses, but local governments as well. Due to the potential positive impact, it makes sense for cities to engage in a wellness initiative for their employees. The health of an employee impacts their employer and the employee in many ways. Potential benefits for the employee include improved health and overall quality of life. A healthy employee may see fewer out-of-pocket expenses for physician office visits and medications. Their employer may experience increased production, reduced absentee-ism and an overall happier and engaged workforce. Conversely, an unhealthy employee may negatively impact the workplace with decreased production, additional costs to back fill their position when they are absent, and the additional expense incurred to provide health insurance. From a health insurance perspective, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension and smoking are areas of great concern. Each of these can lead to increased medical treatment, which leads to increased health insurance premiums. These factors are also a major concern from the workers’ compensation perspective. Each of these affects the injured workers’ ability to heal and prolongs the recovery period. In addition to a prolonged healing period, each of these increases the likelihood of secondary complications. A Duke University study found that obese workers filed twice as many workers’ compensation claims. The medical costs for those obese workers filing claims were seven times higher than injured workers who were not obese. The injured workers in the obese category lost 13 times more days of work than did non-obese workers. The higher cost of these claims is reflected in the employer’s experience modification factor, which drives up the cost of the workers’ compensation coverage. The goal of implementing a wellness program is to help employees get healthier. This is accomplished by assisting the employee in making voluntary behavior changes. Obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension and smoking can all be positively impacted by impacting the employee’s behavior. Having healthier employees should lead to lower absenteeism and less sick time, faster return to work on injured workers, lower medical and insurance costs, improved productivity and increased morale and job satisfaction. Setting an example and role modeling is a powerful way to impact change. The Iowa League of Cities, administrators of the Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association, is currently in their first group effort to impact a positive change for staff in health and wellness. Twenty of the League’s 30 staff members have voluntarily signed up to participate in Live Healthy Iowa. Each team of four has selected a team captain and each individual set goals to make a positive change in their personal health. Goals range from the amount of time spent in physical activity and exercise to weight loss. We are in the beginning stages of the program, however early indications show people are seeing positive results and having some fun along the way. The process of implementing a wellness initiative will vary depending on your resources and level of enthusiasm; however the most important step is the first one. The Internet can provide a wealth of information to assist you in getting started. One Web site to visit is www.iowahealthieststate.com. This site was created to help Iowa achieve its goal of becom-ing the healthiest state by 2016. Director of Risk Services Jeff Hovey EXECUTIVE BOARD President: Buck Clark, Mayor, Waterloo, (319) 291-4301 l President-elect: Warren Woods, Mayor, Creston, (641) 782-2000 Immediate Past President: Reynold Peterson, Mayor, Spencer, (712) 580-7200 l Past President: Kris Gulick, Council Member, Cedar Rapids, (319) 286-5051 Past President: Ruth Randleman, Mayor, Carlisle, (515) 989-3224 DIRECTORS Patty Anderson, City Clerk/Administrator, Hartley, (712) 928-2240 l Lori Brown, City Clerk, Wilton, (563) 732-2115 l Ann Campbell, Mayor, Ames, (515) 239-5105 l Coleen Chipman, Council Member, North Liberty, (319) 626-5700 l Kay Cmelik, City Clerk/Finance Officer, Grinnell, (641) 236-2600 Kim Downs, City Administrator, Hiawatha, (319) 393-1515 l Jim Erb, Mayor, Charles City, (641) 257-6300 | Jim Ferneau, City Administrator, Burlington, (319) 753-8124 l Clint Fichter, City Manager, Avoca, (712) 343-2424 l Linda Gaul, City Clerk, Earlville, (563) 923-3365 l Gregg Mandsager, City Administrator/ Clerk, Muscatine, (563) 264-1550 | Scott Peterson, City Administrator/Clerk, Lake View, (712) 657-2634 | Adam Schweers, Mayor, Carroll, (712) 792-1000 l Matt Walsh, Mayor, Council Bluffs, (712) 328-4616 LEAGUE STAFF Elisabeth Bender, Administrative Assistant l Bruce E. Bergman, General Counsel l Shannon Busby, Office Manager l Bethany Crile, Com-munications Coordinator l Aric Cudnohosky, Database Administrator l Alison R. Deiter, Accountant l Kim Gannon, Claims Examiner l Monica Blay, Ad-ministrative Assistant l Jeff Hovey, Director of Risk Services l Matt Jackson, Claims Manager | Lisa Jones, Medical-Only Claims Examiner l Cindy Kendall, Extension Program Specialist l Tim Kirgan, Marketing Manager l Alan Kemp, Executive Director | Jenny McKenzie, Medical-Only Claims Examiner Dustin Miller, Director of Government Affairs l Dana Monosmith, Controller l Erin Mullenix, Research and Fiscal Analyst | Ed Morrison, Loss Control Representa-tive l Ryan Pealer, Network Administrator Heather Roberts, Director of Information Services l Dean Schade, Senior Loss Control Representative l Mickey Shields, Assistant Director of Membership Services l Ron Sinnwell, Loss Control Coordinator l Terry Timmins, General Counsel l Mark Tomb, Director of Membership Services l Amanda Werner, Administrative Assistant l Katie Wheeler, Graphic Designer | Chuck Williams, R.N., Senior Claims Examiner Tiffani Williamson, Accounting Assistant 4 Cityscape March 2014

Guest’s Viewpoint

Iowa has set a goal of becoming the healthiest state by the year 2016. Healthier residents lead to a healthier workforce. A healthier workforce impacts the bottom line of not only businesses, but local governments as well. Due to the potential positive impact, it makes sense for cities to engage in a wellness initiative for their employees.

The health of an employee impacts their employer and the employee in many ways. Potential benefits for the employee include improved health and overall quality of life. A healthy employee may see fewer out-of-pocket expenses for physician office visits and medications. Their employer may experience increased production, reduced absenteeism and an overall happier and engaged workforce. Conversely, an unhealthy employee may negatively impact the workplace with decreased production, additional costs to back fill their position when they are absent, and the additional expense incurred to provide health insurance.

From a health insurance perspective, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension and smoking are areas of great concern. Each of these can lead to increased medical treatment, which leads to increased health insurance premiums. These factors are also a major concern from the workers’ compensation perspective. Each of these affects the injured workers’ ability to heal and prolongs the recovery period. In addition to a prolonged healing period, each of these increases the likelihood of secondary complications. A Duke University study found that obese workers filed twice as many workers’ compensation claims. The medical costs for those obese workers filing claims were seven times higher than injured workers who were not obese. The injured workers in the obese category lost 13 times more days of work than did non-obese workers. The higher cost of these claims is reflected in the employer’s experience modification factor, which drives up the cost of the workers’ compensation coverage.

The goal of implementing a wellness program is to help employees get healthier. This is accomplished by assisting the employee in making voluntary behavior changes. Obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension and smoking can all be positively impacted by impacting the employee’s behavior. Having healthier employees should lead to lower absenteeism and less sick time, faster return to work on injured workers, lower medical and insurance costs, improved productivity and increased morale and job satisfaction.

Setting an example and role modeling is a powerful way to impact change. The Iowa League of Cities, administrators of the Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association, is currently in their first group effort to impact a positive change for staff in health and wellness. Twenty of the League’s 30 staff members have voluntarily signed up to participate in Live Healthy Iowa. Each team of four has selected a team captain and each individual set goals to make a positive change in their personal health. Goals range from the amount of time spent in physical activity and exercise to weight loss. We are in the beginning stages of the program, however early indications show people are seeing positive results and having some fun along the way.

The process of implementing a wellness initiative will vary depending on your resources and level of enthusiasm; however the most important step is the first one. The Internet can provide a wealth of information to assist you in getting started. One Web site to visit is www.iowahealthieststate.com. This site was created to help Iowa achieve its goal of becoming the healthiest state by 2016.

Director of Risk Services Jeff Hovey

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Guest%E2%80%99s+Viewpoint/1650171/199290/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here