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More than Medicine Blog - GSK
May 13, 2009
Investing in Health at Work
By Michael M, GSK Communications
President Obama held a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday with the CEOs of several employers that have found innovative ways to lower health care costs and improve the health of employees.
There are a number of employers out there that have recognized that the driver of healthcare costs in this country is the epidemic of chronic diseases--diabetes, asthma, heart disease - and that many of these diseases can be prevented or better managed, which may result in lower spending on healthcare in the long run. So these employers--companies like Pitney Bowes and GSK, and cities like Asheville, New Orleans, and the participants of the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, and the CEO Roundtable on Cancer--have instituted what has come to be known as value-based benefit design/health management.
The goal is to make it easier for employees to take an active part in managing their health by implementing work-based programs to encourage and support them to make behavioral changes to prevent obesity, control diabetes, exercise, etc. The work-based initiatives range from on-site gyms and healthy cafeteria options to eliminating copays for medicines that treat chronic diseases.
In a fact sheet release by the White House, the Administration noted that "...employers are discovering that improving quality of care can reduce health care costs. Small actions in the workplace can generate large benefits."
"The President hopes that by encouraging more employers to adopt similar programs, we can improve the productivity of our workforce, delay or avoid many of the complications of chronic diseases, and slow medical cost growth," the statement said.
These companies have been investing in prevention and disease management programs, and many are seeing savings. I think I'll send the President the link to GSK's Center for Value-Based Health Management.