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Companies Must Keep Employees Healthy to Remain Competitive Says Industry Council

Jan. 30, 2015
Dow Chemical said its workplace health program has saved the company $4.8 million on health care costs in 2013. 

Dow Chemical Co. believes that keeping its workforce healthy is good for business.

“To maintain global competitiveness and help to achieve health in our communities, American companies must encourage healthy behavior with every tool in our tooklit, " Dr. Catherine Baase, chief medical officer for The Dow Chemical Co., told the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

“National and international science and policy organizations have concluded that employers and workplaces are absolutely essential to achieving health for society,” Baase added.

Baase described how her company has made health an important company initiative. Since 2004 the company has substantially improved its risk profile of its global population.  The company spent $4.8 million less on health care costs in  2013 than it would have if  it had be consistent with the industry average trend.

The Council, which recently released a strategic plan, A 2020 Vision,"  recommends that employers offer meaningful wellness programs.

Katy Spangler, the Council’s senior vice president, health policy, underscored the importance of a coordinated policy approach that supports the bipartisan provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  encouraging the adoption of employee wellness programs. “Notwithstanding employers’ increasing interest in these programs, a great deal of legal uncertainty surrounds the application of both the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to these programs,” Spangler said.

As Baase told the committee, “The Council and Dow encourage Congress and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to work within the existing legislative and regulatory framework to provide certainty and flexibility to employers.

“A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and a productive workforce makes for a healthier American economy,” Baase said.

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