By: Anthony Matrisciano
July 18, 2013
Local employers can be recognized for workplace wellness programs
Wilkes-Barre, PA. Employers that have implemented successful workplace wellness programs will soon have an opportunity to be recognized for their efforts. In cooperation with seven regional Chambers of Commerce and the ChamberChoice program, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is seeking nominations for the 2013 Healthy Workplace Awards Program.
The winners of the prestigious annual awards will be honored by their local Chamber of Commerce later this year. Previous Healthy Workplace Awards winners can also be nominated for the Continuing Excellence Award, which recognizes a past award recipient that continues to pursue workplace wellness.
To nominate a business – even your own – visit www.chamberchoice.com and enter the county in which you are located. Then, click on Health and Well-Being to download the nomination form. Completed forms must be submitted to one of these participating chambers:
The Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce
The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce
The Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce
Following the nomination process, regional winners will be chosen in two categories — smaller businesses with one to 49 employees, and larger businesses with 50 or more employees. Judges will evaluate the nominations based on the strength and creativity of their workplace wellness efforts.
Examples of workplace wellness initiatives include organizing a wellness committee, identifying walking routes for staff to take during lunch breaks, committing to a 100% smoke-free workplace, offering healthy food choices in vending machines and cafeterias, and arranging health fairs and screenings for employees.
“There is no question that workplace wellness is worth the effort,” saidNina M. Taggart, MD, Vice President of Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer for BCNEPA. “Studies repeatedly show that healthy employees mean greater productivity, less absenteeism and lower health care costs.”
That’s why more companies are utilizing workplace wellness programs to help keep their employees healthy and productive – and to save on health care costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that approximately 75 percent of health care costs for employers are related to chronic conditions brought on by obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lack of physical activity – problems that can be addressed through a wellness program. And according to a recent Gallup poll, unhealthy workers are costing U.S. employers more than $150 billion annually.
“BCNEPA applauds all local employers that are making workplace wellness a priority for their employees,” said Dr. Taggart. “Hopefully, the companies honored with the 2013 Healthy Workplace Awards Program can serve as an inspiration for other businesses to start a workplace wellness program, and to get their employees started on the path to better health.”
About the Healthy Workplace Awards
In 2007, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, ChamberChoice, and select Chambers introduced the Healthy Workplace Awards program to recognize and reward companies that adopted wellness practices in the workplace. Over the past 6 years, the program has recognized more than 50 small and large employers in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania for their commitment to wellness.
About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.