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Knee replacements on the rise as workers age

Knee replacements are becoming more commonplace as American workers age and obesity continues to increase. These procedures may be placing additional pressure on health care programs that are trying to limit expenses. A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that followed the number knee procedures through two decades of increases. The Journal announced that knee replacement surgeries have more than doubled from 1991 to 2010. Total knee replacement procedures increased 162%. In addition, surgeries to repair an already implanted artificial knee joint also doubled with an increase of 106%. These “fixes” to already installed artificial knee joints are called a “revision” procedure. The Mayo Clinic released a statement indicating the knee procedures are happening younger and younger patients. The average age of a person getting knee replacement moved from 68 years-old down to 66 years-old, between 1994 and 2006. Knee replacement expenses are amoun ...

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Connections between low stress and a happy, and productive, team.

A recent study of almost 200,000 individuals pointed the finger at job stress for contributing to heart attacks. The study centered around the concept that workers with highly demanding jobs and little authority to make decisions are 23% more likely to have a heart attack, when measured against other workers with low stress positions.  The study analyzed job strain in workers who did not have a history of coronary heart disease. The survey was sent to 200,000 workers in seven European countries and asked question about workload, time-pressure demands, and the level of freedom to make decisions. Results were published in The Lancet medical journal. While the data points to the opportunity to lower stress levels to help avoid heart trouble, the data also points to 36% of heart attack being attributable to smoking. And further, 12% of heart attacks are contributed to lack of exercise. As the business owner, this creates many opportunities to helping to contribute to the wellness of your employees. Creat ...

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Mandatory mail order pharmacy policy and its impact on your employee satisfaction

A recent study released by J.D. Power shows employees giving a low rating for their satisfaction with their prescription benefits plan when the use of a mail-order pharmacy was mandated by the plan. Yet, employees that were allowed to choose a mail-order pharmacy method were more likely to rate their satisfaction higher. On J.D. Power’s 1,000-pointscale, the score for satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies went from 814 in 2011 to 2012 in 2012. The study addressed aspects like service, cost and the process to secure medications. A BenefitNews.com article quotes Rick Millard senior director of health care practice at J.D. Power as saying, “The erosion in customer satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies may foretell challenges to their business model, as prior to 2011 customer satisfaction was more equivalent to the brick-and-mortar experience.” He goes on, “Acceptance of mail-order programs grew by offering customers convenience and lower costs. While this has been a successful appro ...

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Can camera surveillance lower your workers’ compensation costs?

Video surveillance inside and outside business locations have benefits beyond security. Recently, preventing fraud in workers’ compensation cases has become a hot button for video surveillance suppliers. An article over at Workforce.com, points to many of the issues relating to the use of video surveillance in the workplace to prevent workers’ comp fraud. Maintain a consistent use of the video. Have your policy in place so that when a claim is filed, it’s a routine procedure to pull the video. Don’t pull video in some cases and not in others. This opens the door to many legal weak points in your defense. The use of video recording means the system can record real weaknesses in workplace safety and the video can be used against the company in a lawsuit. While this is true, the experts in the Workforce.com article seem to indicate that the benefits of having they system outweigh the potential for it to be used against the company. It is more expensive to have a video recording of 1 ...

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Help avoid absenteeism through providing supports for the mental health of employees

Because of mental disorders, over 200 million days of work are lost each year among workers age 18 to 54 in the US. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group estimates this to be costing businesses over $17 billion dollars a year. Data points like these are creating a change in the design of employee assistance programs (EAP).  EAPs are normally targeted with helping to address mental illnesses and behavior habits that employees want to change. Common uses of EAP plans include addressing depression, weight loss and tobacco use. The normal tactics used within an EAP program usually are in-house counseling and off-site referrals to psychologists and other health experts. Now, employers are looking at expanding EAP programs to include preventative measures and tools to help support both the emotional and mental alertness aspects of keeping the minds of employees in top form. Experts are describing the change as going from designing EAP programs to address “mental health” to addressing “brain health ...

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