The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) has awarded Highmark Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, as one of "America's Healthiest Companies" when it recently received the 2009 Well Workplace Award for its commitment to protecting and enhancing the health and well-being of its employees. As the state's largest health insurer, Highmark provides its 11,000 Pennsylvania-based employees a comprehensive wellness program.
"At Highmark, wellness isn't something we just discuss—it's something we do," said Dr. Donald Fischer, Highmark's chief medical officer. "The health and well-being of employees isn't just a 'feel good' strategy. It's a strategy that has measurable results."
The Well Workplace Award, created by the WELCOA, provides organizations the opportunity to be evaluated through seven benchmarks that can potentially lead to recognition of achievement in health promotion. The benchmarks include senior-level support, wellness teams, data collection, operating plans, interventions, supportive environments and outcome evaluations.
Highmark earned a gold designation as a company that has successfully built comprehensive worksite wellness initiatives and is demonstrating and documenting concrete outcomes. Highmark is just one of 59 companies to receive the Well Workplace Award this year.
This award recognizes Highmark's continuous efforts to provide employees with a culture of wellness, including an onsite fitness center and ongoing wellness classes.
A Highmark study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2008, showed that employers can save $1.65 in health care expenses for every dollar spent on a comprehensive wellness program. Through a four-year period, Highmark saved $1.3 million on health care costs through its wellness program
"We offer the same employee wellness programs to our customers because we know how effective they can be," said Fischer. "It's just one more way that we're helping our customers better manage their health care costs and engage their work force in wellness."
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