At the 2016 PARMA Conference, Doug McKibbin from Keenan presented a session looking at the Total Worker Health Model. The Total Worker Health Model is based on creating a healthier workforce with increased productivity which should, in turn, reduce your worker’s compensation and healthcare costs.
The session begin with a discussion of the rising healthcare costs in the United States and the corresponding rise in workers’ compensation claim severity. Co-morbid conditions such as obesity and diabetes are leading to poor employee health and corresponding high costs.
Population Health Management looks at the total costs of poor employee health, including workers’ compensation, absenteeism, productivity and health insurance costs. There is a need for better health education and engagement and for an integrated approach to employee health.
Many employers are looking at developing wellness programs to increase their total worker health. Examples of wellness programs include:
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to allow workers to obtain mental healthcare at little to no cost.
- Bringing in outside trainers to educate the workforce on wellness strategies.
- Stress management and stress reduction programs.
- Community involvement, which teaches employee the importance of giving back to the community.
- Biometric screenings.
- Health assessments.
- Healthy challenges such as walking contests.
The goals of a total worker health program include:
- Promotion of optimal health status.
- Prevention of illness, chronic conditions and injuries.
- Management of injuries and chronic conditions that can impact recovery.
- Facilitation of recovery and transaction back to the workforce.
On-site medical / wellness clinics can be an important part of a total worker health program. These can provide annual physicals, preventative screenings, with management, smoking cessation, health education counseling and basic medical care.
Telephonic nurse triage can also be an important element of these programs. This ensures that the injured worker receives timely and appropriate medical care while also avoiding unnecessary treatment. The nurse can also assist in providing appropriate wellness resources.
It is important to identify the physicians who produce the best outcomes for your workforce. You need to continuously monitor and update these physician panels to make sure they are meeting the desired goals.
The bottom line is that a healthy employee is more productive, has fewer injuries and health claims, has less absenteeism and improved quality of work.