Assessing health risks to reduce costs

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

EmployeeStress.jpg

These days, the health of an employee means a lot. So, as health-care costs rise, more companies are recognizing the value of providing preventive care. In order to understand just what an individual should do now, to avoid everything from asthma and diabetes to heart disease and obesity in the future, many companies are turning to health-risk appraisals.

These questionnaires help take stock of an individual’s general health and wellness or identify the chance of developing specific diseases. The appraisals can include hundreds of questions or just a few, depending on their purpose.

The Oregon Center for Applied Science (ORCAS), a company that receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, has developed more than 100 behavior modification programs, many of which include health-risk appraisals. The programs tackle obesity, depression, alcohol abuse, smoking and stress.

“The goal of our programs is to help employees get the right kind of help,” says Stacey Schultz, ORCAS president and CEO. “We tailor solutions based on the results of their health-risk assessment. For example, if you don’t exercise frequently, we want to deliver a program that starts you out slower than someone who exercises frequently.”

But asking an employee to share details about their health with an employer creates obvious privacy concerns. In most cases, the process is HIPPA compliant, and outside entities handle all of the appraisal’s results and recommendations. As a precaution, both employers and employees should know upfront where the information will go and how it will be used.

As an incentive to take the health-risk appraisals and participate in subsequent programs, many companies offer employees reduced insurance premiums, knowing that in the end, healthy employees mean a better bottom line.

“Ultimately, these programs help make employees more productive,” Schultz says. “And if employees are healthier, there will be fewer health claims and benefit costs go down.”          

LUCY BURNINGHAM



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS