Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The American public and business community "get it" when it comes to the value of using disease prevention and health promotion to help reform the country's health care system, Partnership for Prevention President Robert J. Gould, PhD, said at a recent press conference on Capitol Hill.

Gould made the remarks at an event discussing a new survey that shows that public considers prevention the top priority in health reform. The survey, commissioned by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, showed 72 percent support increased support for prevention programs, even if they don't save money.

"The public gets it, and business executives get it," said Gould. "Addressing the worsening health status of workers is critical to controlling future health care spending... And the polling data released today confirms the American public's support."

Gould said Partnership's "Leading by Example" initiative has helped CEOs at more than 40 American companies - including many Fortune 500 corporations - promote and implement effective worksite wellness programs.

"Increasingly, corporate executives are not just speaking out on the high cost of health care," he said. "They are creating compelling models to produce a healthier workforce."

Gould noted that President Obama last month held a roundtable discussion wtih business executives who were praised for their corporate efforts to contain health care costs. The dozen or so executives in attendance included those from three "Leading by Example" companies - Johnson & Johnson, Safeway, and Pitney Bowes.

Another "Leading by Example" company, Dow Chemical Co., recently testified on Capitol Hill that its worksite wellness programs last year saved 9,000 employee absentee days and yielded a return on investment equal to seven cents per share of company stock.

"Employer wellness programs are a win-win proposition for both the employee and the employer," he said. Even so, he said, many businesses - particularly small businesses - could use tax incentives to help them establish such programs.

To view a video recording of Gould's remarks, click here.


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