Assessing health risks to reduce costs

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2008
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

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


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