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The Impact of Chronic Disease on Small Business

by GMS Wellness GroupNovember 9, 2016 8:00 AM

Did you know that 75 percent of all healthcare costs are attributed to preventable conditions? Imagine the burden this places on employers and their healthcare costs. Here is what the numbers are saying:

  • 45 percent of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease.
  • More than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by these five chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.
  • Treatment for chronic disease constitutes roughly 96 cents per dollar for Medicare and 83 cents per dollar for Medicaid.
  • More than one in four Americans have multiple chronic conditions (MCC), and this number is continuing to grow.

Chronic disease, by definition, is a disease that typically lasts three months or longer. In most cases, chronic conditions can be controlled but not cured. In fact, it affects 1.7 million lives each year, being the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Many people assume this is only affecting the elderly, but in the past 10 years, working aged adults being diagnosed with chronic diseases increased by 25 percent. This epidemic is having a strong effect on the cost of healthcare. A study performed at Milken Institute examined the relationship between chronic disease and absenteeism among full time workers. The study focused on seven different diseases and found that the indirect costs of chronic diseases (such as missed days away from work) are higher than the direct cost to treat them.

Image of a stethoscope. Learn how workplace wellness programs can help business and employees.

How Businesses Can Improve Employee Health

Most businesses take an interest in their employee’s health in one way or another. In addition to the employee’s basic health coverage, some businesses provide amenities like healthier food options in their cafeterias, onsite Fitness Centers and ergonomic desks. These are all well-intended options for helping employees, but when it comes to chronic disease, it barely moves the needle.

The question yet stands: How can an employer impact the prevention of chronic disease in the workplace? Answer: By educating employees on how to modify their current behaviors before they turn into a chronic condition. Adults spend most of their time in the workplace, which is why it makes the most sense to attempt to reach them at their job. All of this sounds expensive and tough to get everyone involved. Fortunately, the GMS Wellness Program has what you need, at a reasonable cost.

When instituting a Workplace Wellness Program, your employees are not only supported with education on current topics but also with ways to take their health into their own hands and control it. Unhealthy behaviors like smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, poor standard of care compliance, insufficient sleep, and lack of health screenings can quickly turn into chronic conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, back pain, obesity, COPD, and arthritis. A wellness program can help by providing:

  • A custom program that is in compliance with all of the ACA regulations for wellness plans
  • Health risk assessments, which are protected by HIPAA and confidential
  • Health screenings for height, weight, blood pressure, glucose, and total cholesterol, which are all done on site, with HDL, LDL, and Triglyceride screening available upon request
  • Biometric body fat scans by Body Metrix®
  • On-site wellness recommendations
  • Smoking cessation and drug and alcohol abuse prevention
  • One-on-one communication with a Wellness Coordinator
  • Voluntary lunch and learns, classes, and informational meetings
  • A monthly newsletter
  • Healthy challenges

Contact GMS today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can make your business simpler, safer, and stronger. 

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