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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Incentivizing Wellness: How THR Employees Save Money by Building Healthier Lifestyles

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Heath Care Report.”

Creating healthy communities is an ongoing theme of this program. At Texas Health Resources, we’re making sure our own employees – 17,000 of them across North Texas – are part of that equation.

Through a program called Be Healthy THR, employees earn financial incentives while developing healthier lifestyles. If, for example, employees meet specific exercise targets, they earn credits to offset the cost of their health insurance. Or if they quit smoking, or visit their physician for an annual exam, they also can earn credits to reduce their health insurance premiums.

Last year, more than 4,500 Texas Health Resources employees participated in the program. 2005 begins our second year of this program, and we expect even more employees to participate.

As a business, we believe that healthier employees are happier, more productive employees and that healthier employees contribute to a stronger, more cost-efficient organization. And we’re not alone. Johnson & Johnson reports that its wellness program saved the company $378 per employee per year by lowering absenteeism and slowing the rise in the company’s health care expenses. The DuPont company, meanwhile, reduced absenteeism by more than 47 percent among its wellness program participants.

By investing in a healthy workforce, employers like Texas Health Resources make a positive contribution to both their workers and the community.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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