Business owners are now seeing the effects of employee health on their productivity and bottom line. Chronic health conditions have the most impact on business because there is very little emphasis put on getting to the cause of the problem. Most health professionals view successful treatment of these chronic health conditions as relieving symptoms. Unfortunately, symptom relief leads to further damage from continued medications as well as continued damage as you feel good because causal effect wasn’t addressed. Business and economy take the brunt of the blow and this trend of sickness and business cost is only increasing. Here is how the cost of illness and productivity are related:
• People with diabetes lose more than eight days per year from work, accounting for 14 million disability days.
• In 2009, cardiovascular disease costs businesses more than $161 billion in lost productivity annually, due to absences and premature death.
• Annual per capita employer expenditures in 2001 for asthmatic patients were approximately 2.5 times more than for non- asthmatic employees.
• High blood pressure prompts more doctor visits than anyother condition. A 10 percent decrease in the number of visitswould save employers $450 million in medical costs each year.
–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention“Chronic Diseases, The Power to Prevent,The Call to Control: At A Glance 2009,”
The Coalition on Catastrophic and Chronic HealthCare Costs estimates that 70-80 percent of overall healthcare costs is attributable to chronic health conditions, most notably, cardiovascular disease, diabetes,obesity,andasthma. The good news is that many of these conditions can be prevented or their effects lessened. Experts point to a trio of modifiable, lifestyle factors as major contributors to chronic diseases, and consequently, to the staggering financial toll on businesses. These lifestyle factors include: Nutrition, Exercise, and Stress.
Health of employees is a monumental issue for employers, and too much is at stake to be reactive. It’s time for companies to play offense rather than defense.