Tag Archives: wellness program

Interesting Approach

10/17/18   Julius Young

Recently I became aware of an interesting experiment by the SCIF, the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

Titled the “Injured Worker Incentive Program”, this SCIF program (see link below) promised certain monetary incentives to those who it deemed in compliance with certain benchmarks.

savings graph for article about Injured Worker Incentive ProgramsThis apparently was a small SCIF program, and inquiries by some of my colleagues have resulted in head scratching by various SCIF attorneys who claimed no knowledge of it. The program may not be getting off the ground at this time.

I’ve heard whispers that this program came to the attention of some at the DWC, but to my knowledge there’s been no public discussion of it.

The July 2018 explanatory letter from SCIF notes that “the sooner injured employees return to work, the sooner they feel better.” The letter explains that this program is established to encourage injured workers “to establish and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle”. As a result, “State Fund is prepared to assist you in your efforts by supplying some fitness equipment which you or your physician may think would be helpful.”

Other benefits of the program included:

• Potential eligibility for a $1,000 payment to those who return to work within 7 days of release by a doctor and who remain employed for 6 months;

• Payments of $500 for maintaining pre-injury weight or $1,000 for losing at least 5% of pre-injury weight;

• Potential monetary payments of $1,500 (compliance with treatment), $1,000 (staying within the MPN), and $1,250 (agreeing with the PTP findings to avoid use of the QME medical-legal evaluation process);

• Wellness program participation ($500)

These cash awards were noted to be considered taxable income and as a result 1099 forms would be issued by SCIF.

How should we assess this program?

One could argue that experimentation in workers’ compensation may be a good thing. And some of the program’s goals are laudable, i.e. getting people back to work and supporting healthy lifestyles and “wellness”. Extra monetary incentives for workers could possibly be a tool to drive behavior that arguably might lead to some better outcomes.

It’s an issue that the comp community should debate.


Wellness Programs Add Financial Advice To Improve Employee Health

Sheena Calliham is all too aware of statistics showing that millennials have less job security and more student debt than their parents.

financial counsellor and young couple“Student loan debt is a primary financial stressor and concern for my generation,” she says, “and we’ve also faced a challenging job market.”

Calliham is 32, manages healthcare centers in Columbia, S.C, and has a 2-year-old daughter. A few weeks ago, she signed up for a financial wellness program offered by her employer. She says the stress of the debt and the cost of raising a child were affecting many aspects of her life.

“It can be a stressor that I can take home with me,” she says, “and that may cause me to take things out on people that I love.”
About half of all U.S. employers now offer financial wellness programs, although how they define them varies. Many companies have long offered lectures on topics like retirement. But increasingly, say analysts tracking the trend, employers are tailoring their programs to the worker — more like a personal trainer who works on your budget rather than your waistline.

Most large companies are expanding their financial wellness programs this year, says Rob Austin, director of retirement research at consulting firm Aon Hewitt. And employers realize one-on-one counseling is a far more effective way to reach people and address their particular concerns.

“It really goes much deeper and much broader,” he says.

According to Evren Esen, who directs survey programs at the Society for Human Resource Management, more than two-thirds of professionals in human resources say personal finances are having an effect on their employees at work, and that can affect health.


Small Businesses Good Candidates for Wellness Programs

Denver, CO (WorkersCompensation.com) – Small businesses are prepared to adopt workplace wellness programs and, based on the kinds of health risks facing employees, are a good target for such health interventions according to new research published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Occupational and EnvirHealth happens here in the workplaceonmental Medicine from the Colorado School of Public Health.

This research was part of a large prospective, longitudinal case-control study to determine whether worker productivity improves and workers’ compensation costs fall if health promotion programs are offered to small businesses. Nearly 80 percent of large employers offer wellness programs, but less than one-third of small businesses engage in these programs, according to past research. The article, “Implementation of a Worksite Wellness Program Targeting Small Businesses: The Pinnacol Assurance Health Risk Management Study” from researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health is the first field-based study to look at implementing low-cost worksite wellness programs in a large number of small businesses.

“Small businesses face significant barriers when considering worksite wellness programs because they lack the money, time and knowledge about how to implement them,” said the study’s lead author, Lee Newman, MD, MA, professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “We demonstrated that Colorado small businesses will adopt worksite wellness programs if the program is provided free of charge and comes with advice on how to execute it,” he continued. “This study provides important on-the-ground insight into how to structure these programs.”


Beating Fat Employees with a Stick


Employee Wellness program graphic chartThe increasing girth of the average American is becoming a pretty weighty issue, and employers tired of having paint scraped off door frames are beginning to take notice. Some are beginning to turn away from incentive based health programs to efforts that actually punish employees or restrict benefits for those who do not participate. Excessive weight in America, it turns out, is a really big fat problem.

7 in 10 Americans are now overweight, with more than one third classified as obese. It is a surprising and disturbing statistic. I’ll tell you, I almost dropped my Tootsie Roll when I read it.

For a number of years many employers have been offering wellness programs in the hope that the tubbo’s on their payroll (statistically most of us, including yours truly) would participate and develop a healthier and less expensive (or expansive?) lifestyle. Alas, it was not to be. I maintain they would have had better success if they had offered ice cream and pizza to encourage people to get with the program, but what do I know? It just seems that dropping pounds and getting healthy is too hard to be attempted just because it is good for us.

No, we need to be beaten with a stick to get the point across. Continue reading Beating Fat Employees with a Stick