Health & Medicine

Workplace care can help employees stay healthier

If you are injured or sick, you’re likely not thriving at your job or are simply unable to work. Fortunately, many workplaces in recent years are trying to keep their employees healthy, safe and productive through the addition of occupational health and corporate wellness services, also known as workplace care. These medical services not only help employees thrive and get the care they need in the most convenient way, but it also helps businesses reduce rising healthcare costs.

Workplace care provides access to a wide range of preventive treatment and wellness services. A growing number of Kentucky companies have realized that addressing the health needs of their employees is important for a safe, productive and profitable business. Workplace care brings doctors onsite to see patients to address individual healthcare, fitness, and preventing and managing injuries. Services often include pre-employment physicals, drug and alcohol screenings, physical therapy and long-term work-related rehab, urgent care and emergency injury treatment.

Further services may include group classes on diabetes management, one-on-one counseling with a physician or nurse practitioner, wellness presentations on a variety of topics, nutritional counseling, and access to primary care physicians and specialists.

Occupational health initially sprung from the need for workplaces to comply with federal regulations mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Transportation for work-related injuries and drug tests, though the programs often go beyond this mandate now. However, with expertise in OSHA regulations and occupational care, physicians can help save time and money for both the employer and the employee.

The way in which workplace care is implemented depends upon the employer. Many Kentucky employers have used innovative ways to improve the health of their employees. For example, some businesses use onsite nurse practitioners to monitor chronic conditions, diagnose and treat acute illnesses, and educate patients. Many employees have seen a significant drop in blood pressure as a result of these programs.

Other employers have instituted incentive programs to reduce tobacco use among employees, leading some employees to successfully quit. Others have used weight loss programs featuring educational seminars, personal coaching, discussion groups, and incentives to address high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Workplace care helps make staying healthy easier and more effective for both employee and employer. Ask your human resources department if any of these options are available to you at your workplace, or when they might be implemented. With workplace care, your healthcare might get a lot more convenient.

Shirley Kron is a regional director with KentuckyOne Health Workplace Care.