Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018!
SHRM board member David Windley discusses how unconscious bias can derail workplace diversity efforts.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
What's Driving Employers' Cost-Control Efforts
Care management-a range of programs designed to improve employee health, including disease management-is now the No. 1 cost-control strategy of large employers, says Sue Willette, principal and leader of the national health and productivity management practice in the Minneapolis office of Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC.
In fact, use of such programs grew rapidly last year as the percentage of employers offering at least one program jumped from 32 percent in 2004 to 41 percent, according to a 2005 Mercer survey of 3,000 employers. Two-thirds (67 percent) of large employers now offer one or more disease management (DM) programs-up from 58 percent in 2004.
Mercer itself has witnessed a 61 percent jump in interest in these types of programs by employers in just the past year, says Willette. Specifically, to better identify employees who could benefit from DM, employers are taking a longer-term view by offering health-risk appraisals-46 percent of large employers now use the strategy, up from 35 percent in 2004, the Mercer data reports.
"You can't just look at today's claims," she says. "You really have to address future risks as well. Self-reported health assessments can be an early identification tool for future risk."
At Perdue Farms Inc., in Salisbury, Md., for example, the company's Health Improvement Program initiative encourages employees to participate in a health screening and behavior modification program working through the company's on-site health care professionals.
The program focuses on improving employee health in five areas: blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, weight control and exercise. Workers complete a health-risk appraisal, have blood drawn and complete a consultation with a specialist. They choose two health areas on which to focus and then meet periodically with the on-site practitioner to chart progress.
During a pilot of the program conducted in six poultry processing plants, employees showed a 25 percent reduction in risk factors, compared with a 2 percent reduction in the control group. The most dramatic improvement was in control of blood pressure, with a 70 percent reduction in the number of people with high blood pressure.
Based on these results, the health improvement plan was quickly expanded to other Perdue facilities, says Dr. Roger Merrill, chief medical officer and architect of the program. (For more on the Perdue program and on health care in the workplace, see the
cover story in the April 2006 issue of
Susan J. Wells, a business journalist in the Washington, D.C., area and a contributing editor of HR Magazine
, has more than 20 years of experience covering business news and workforce issues.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies