Forum Session

Fit for the Job: What Can Workplace Wellness Programs Deliver?
November 6, 2009


Kathryn Linehan


For decades some employers have attempted to improve health, productivity, and worker morale and to lower costs through a variety of health education and other programs in the workplace, commonly referred to as workplace wellness programs. Wellness programs have received renewed attention from employers and workers as health care costs have continued to climb at a rate that exceeds growth in wages and many other costs of doing business. Recent media attention has focused on the small but possibly growing number of employers whose wellness programs have added financial stakes for employees to participate and even achieve certain health outcomes. This session explored the types of workplace wellness programs and evidence of their effectiveness, as well as the ethical concerns around wellness programs and legal parameters that affect program design. Speakers also discussed provisions in health reform legislation that relate to workplace wellness programs.


LuAnn Heinen, Vice President and Director, Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity, National Business Group on Health; Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, Research Professor and Director, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Emory University, Vice President of Consulting and Applied Research, Thomson Reuters Healthcare; Lucinda Jesson, JD, Director, Health Law Institute, and Associate Professor, Hamline University School of Law; Ann Kempski, Director of Health Policy, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Slides from the presentations by Dr. Goetzel, Ms. Jesson, and Ms. Kempski are available for download. Speakers' biographies are also available.

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