SOURCE: Viridian Health Management

Viridian Health Management

June 13, 2013 07:00 ET

Viridian Health Management Announces Selection of 104 Employers for the CDC's National Healthy Worksite Program

Worksite Health Initiative Aims to Prevent Chronic Disease, Improve Worker Productivity and Control Healthcare Costs for Employers

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - Viridian Health Management, a provider of comprehensive health management programs that improve individual and population health, today announced that Viridian and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have selected 104 employers in eight counties across the United States to participate in the National Healthy Worksite Program (NHWP), a new initiative aimed at reducing chronic disease and building a healthier, more productive U.S. workforce. The National Healthy Worksite Program is designed to assist employers in implementing science-based disease prevention and wellness strategies to help improve employee health and reduce the rate of chronic diseases. 

As a key implementation contractor for the CDC's National Healthy Worksite Program, Viridian helps workers across the country increase physical activity, improve nutritional status, encourage health screenings, reduce tobacco use and provide incentives for the adoption of healthy behaviors.

"Chronic diseases -- such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer and obesity -- are the leading causes of death and disability. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases, the most costly and preventable of all health problems in the United States," said Brenda Schmidt, president and CEO of Viridian Health Management. "The toll of chronic diseases also affects employers, as they must manage the considerable costs of lost productivity and worker absenteeism caused by these diseases."

The NHWP is a demonstration project primarily focused on the impact and effectiveness of comprehensive worksite health programs in small employers, of which less is known as compared to large employers. This program will fill an unmet need to improve employee health and will examine issues related to culture, engagement and communications that influence participation, and ultimately, outcomes of worksite health programs in small employers.

The recently published Workplace Wellness Programs Study by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis, also speaks to the importance of workplace wellness programs to help contain the epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases in the United States. In its analysis, Rand reported that 82 percent of employers have employee wellness programs, but many are not comprehensive, as defined by the CDC. In addition, Rand's research shows that wellness programs typically have a 20 percent participation rate, as compared to the expected NHWP participation rate of 75 percent which can result from implementing a best-practice worksite wellness program.

"At the end of this program, we expect that employers will have created work environments that make tobacco-free living, physical activity and healthy eating easier for their employees," said Jason E. Lang, MPH, MS, Team Lead for Worksite Health Programs, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Evidence shows that the result will be a healthier, happier and more productive workforce."

The eight communities participating in the National Healthy Worksite Program are Buchanan County, Mo.; Harris County, Texas; Kern County, Calif.; Marion County, Ind.; Philadelphia County, Philadelphia, Pa.; Pierce County, Wash.; Shelby County, Tenn.; and Somerset County, Maine. The eight communities were selected because of their high rates of chronic diseases and health risk behaviors such as overweight/obesity, smoking and physical inactivity.

"The vast majority of companies recognize that employer-based wellness programs are important. However, many are unsure how to structure and design a comprehensive workplace wellness program," Schmidt said. "The National Healthy Worksite Program is a best-practice model for employers and provides the training, tools, processes and resources to achieve a sustainable workplace health program."

Selected employers for the National Healthy Worksite Program will receive: 

  • Training and other assistance in building a high-quality workplace health program;
  • Onsite health and safety assessment and program evaluation to define needs, interests and capacities to implement a company health and safety program;
  • A three-year workplace health improvement plan tailored to each company's needs and interests;
  • An onsite program supported by experienced health professionals such as dieticians, nurses, health coaches, diabetes educators and tobacco-cessation specialists;
  • Access to national workplace health experts for consultation from the CDC and other federal agencies; academia and the research community; state and local governments; nonprofit organizations; and other employers.

Viridian has also partnered with the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW), a NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Total Worker Health™ Center for Excellence, to evaluate multiple models for integrating health promotion with occupational health interventions.

"Viridian's experience in delivering health behavior change outcomes, its national health coaching network, and industry-exceeding participation rates of 75 percent in worksite health programs makes us ideally suited to implement the National Healthy Worksite Program. Collaborative partnerships such as the National Healthy Worksite Program are a key element of the effort to improve the health of employees, reduce the rate of preventive chronic diseases and reign in healthcare costs," Schmidt said.

"With 75 percent of U.S. healthcare dollars going to the treatment of chronic diseases, employers are increasingly seeing the value of taking a more proactive approach to improving employee health," Schmidt concluded. "By playing a crucial role in tackling chronic disease early, employers will benefit from a healthier workforce and reduced healthcare costs."

For additional information such as webinars, training opportunities, resources and training materials, please visit the National Healthy Worksite Program website at http://ctt.marketwire.com/?release=11G005836-001&id=3104221&type=0&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.cdc.gov%2fNationalHealthyWorksite.

About Viridian Health Management
Viridian Health Management focuses on improving the health of employees, families and communities through its pioneering HealthImpact™ health coaching methodology, integrative wellness programs and its MAESTRO™ care management technology solution. Its comprehensive health management solutions combine evidence-based and emerging best practices for worksites, public health and healthcare partners. Viridian focuses on engaging individuals to make healthy behavior changes that result in better health outcomes and financial savings.

To learn more, visit online at www.viridianhealth.com, follow on Twitter @ViridianHealth, Facebook and LinkedIn, email info@viridianhealth.com or call (877) 486-0140.

Viridian Health Management
22601 North 19th Avenue | Suite 240 | Phoenix, AZ 85027

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