KARE11 video from June 13:
If you ask forward-looking business leaders, many chambers of commerce, and state and local health officials, you’ll hear that Minnesota is a leader in workplace wellness — but there’s much work left to be done. Today, Minnesota’s leadership in workplace wellness goes to Washington in the form of the Congressional Wellness Caucus announced by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-03).
Designed to shed light on the cost reduction and productivity enhancing benefits of workplace wellness, this bipartisan, bicameral caucus will investigate and share the best practices, resources and research to help employers find the most effective ways to support employee health and wellness.
The caucus will be co-chaired by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-Minnesota) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin).
“It’s great to see Minnesota businesses leading the way nationally to support employees living healthy lives,” says Senator Klobuchar.
“Employers in my district understand the importance of healthy employees. By supporting proactive and preventative care, we can help curb healthcare costs and improve the lives of employees,” says Rep. Paulsen. “I am honored to help lead the bipartisan, bicameral efforts of the Congressional Wellness Caucus in such a cause. I would also like to commend the hard work of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota for their work in driving the dialogue of workplace health and wellness among Minnesota businesses of all sizes.”
The issue of individual health has a significant impact on employer costs, but efforts to support health and wellness can make a positive difference. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that 75 percent of employers’ health care costs are related to employee lifestyle choices.The CDC also says companies that sponsor health and wellness programs get a return on their investment of between $3-$6 for every dollar they spend over a two- to five-year period.
“Workplace wellness makes sense for employee’s health and for the bottom line,” says Chief Prevention Officer Doctor Marc Manley of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “Many of the diseases that are making people sick are preventable, and we know employers can have a real impact by promoting healthy workplaces and strong wellness programs.”
“We’ve heard from employers throughout the state that their rising health care costs are unsustainable and they want to do something about it,” says Tom Mason, president of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. “It’s exciting to see congressional leaders taking on this issue in a way that will use the market to help reform health care.”
With the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota and Dr. Manley, the announcement was made at Apogee Enterprises, an architectural glass company based in Bloomington. Apogee, with around 20 worksites across 11 states and a total of 3,300 employees nationwide, began implementing workplace health initiatives in 2008. The company’s current wellness activities include a health assessment, on-site biometric screenings, weight loss contests and physical activity challenges with incentives and healthy nutrition choices in and around the office. Another key to Apogee’s success has been active, visible support from senior leadership.
“I’m proud of our staff for their work to support a healthier workplace culture at Apogee,” says Russ Huffer, Apogee CEO. “We have growing participation among employees in our wellness initiatives, leading to a healthier workforce and helping us to better manage healthcare costs.”