While we are plunging ever deeper in debt as a nation we also are getting sicker. Getting the wellness problem under control presents a significant challenge to permit affordable health care reform and will become essential to our financial recovery as a nation.
San Francisco (Vocus) October 28, 2009
Today the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) released an analysis of almost 27,000 employee self-reported surveys indicating that a significant number of employees suffer from chronic health problems such as depression, diabetes, asthma and heart disease. More than nine in ten respondents have one or more chronic health problems and, overall, employees have conditions that cut across an average of three diverse clusters of chronic health conditions (e.g., socio-emotional, metabolic, respiratory). The diversity of those multiple conditions dramatically complicates treatment and management across those conditions and leads to additional lost work time – and this is a survey of workers healthy enough to be employed.
“As the health reform debate continues, it’s important to keep front and center the focus on improving the health of the U.S. workforce,” said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of IBI. “While we are plunging ever deeper in debt as a nation we also are getting sicker. Getting the wellness problem under control presents a significant challenge to permit affordable health care reform and will become essential to our financial recovery as a nation.”
The goal of every employer is to have a highly-productive workforce, and chronic health conditions present a special challenge. These chronic conditions often lead to lost time from work and lost productivity.
Chronic health conditions are often underreported and under treated. Employers can no longer rely solely on claims data as the single window into employee health but also must turn to a growing array of employee self-report tools if they are to move from employee health as a cost center to employee health as a key part of the business strategy.
Additional details on this analysis are available from IBI on request.
About the Integrated Benefits Institute
The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) provides employers and their supplier partners with resources for proving the business value of health. As a pioneer, leader and nonprofit supplier of health and productivity research, measurement and benchmarking, IBI is a trusted source for benefits performance analysis, practical solutions, and forums for information and education. IBI’s programs, resources and expert networks advance understanding about the link between – and the impact of – health-related productivity on corporate America’s bottom line. The 2010 IBI/NBCH Health & Productivity Forum is February 8-10 in San Antonio. For additional information visit: ibiweb.org.