The pilot worksite wellness program being implemented at NCDOT is being paid for by a $1.5 million dollar charitable donation from Astra Seneca, LP. The goal of the partnership will be to use funds to improve employee health and reduce costs that are attributed to mostly preventable disease. The State Health Plan reports 70% of medical and pharmacy claims costs are attributed to mostly preventable chronic disease related to poor nutrition, obesity, lack of physical activity and tobacco use. It is intriguing that a pharmaceutical company would be willing to donate such a significant amount of money to implement wellness programs when most of their money is made from selling drugs that support chronic illnesses. Michael Draine, the National Sales Director at AstraZeneca was quoted as saying "We have a global responsibility to support health and healthy behaviors worldwide. Making a contribution to North Carolina Prevention Partners to fund the work site wellness project at the NCDOT helps us meet that responsibility. We are pleased to contribute to a program that will help State Health Plan members manage their health more effectively.” It will be interesting to see if this pilot program is more or less successful than other programs already implemented.
Also in 2008, North Carolina implemented a NC HealthSmart Work site Wellness Program Statewide http://www.shpnc.org/worksite-wellness.html. This program provides universities and agencies with a Toolkit of guidelines and ready-to-use materials to organize a work site wellness committees and implement work site wellness programs. The Toolkit is comprised of five workbooks which include:
- starting or enhancing an effective wellness committee
- Healthy eating
- Physical Activity
- Tobacco cessation
- Stress Management
In addition to the Health Smart Program, North Carolina previously created a non-profit, statewide organization called, NC Prevention Partners. Started in 1998, this organization is also dedicated to building effective prevention and health systems in NC communities to improve health of all North Carolinians. This organization has many initiatives including:
- Healthy Hospital Initiative
- Preventive Health Benefits
- Rx Quit for Life
- Quit Now NC
- Healthy Dining Zone
It is certainly clear that North Carolina is making the effort to improve the health of it's population. The web sites above may provide a great deal of information and creative ideas for your employee population. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you can initiate wellness in the workplace.