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Health Biz (248)

When Southwest Michigan First looked to create a robust wellness program, the economic development agency wanted to add a level of thoughtfulness to its programming rather than focus on avoiding unhealthy behaviors or diets and eliminating sedentary lifestyles.

When an employer fully funds its employees’ health plan — meaning that workers get the total cost of their health insurance and their wellness programming covered — the company has clearly made a choice to be well-invested in the health and well-being of its employees.

You don’t need to build an onsite gym or hire a full-time personal trainer to create a wellness plan that works for your small business.

Consumers Credit Union may be technically new to the wellness game, having just formalized its program in 2012, but it’s something that’s been an informal part of CEO Kit Snyder’s management philosophy over his 30 years at the helm of the Kalamazoo-based organization.

Holland-based office furniture manufacturer Trendway Corp. learned the hard way that financial incentives don’t always produce the desired wellness results.

To create a successful wellness program, Grand Rapids-based Lacks Enterprises Inc. started by focusing on its corporate culture.

While wellness programs can result in real costs savings for companies, Zeeland-based Herman Miller Inc. takes a more measured view, one focused on the outcomes for employees rather than the company.

West Michigan employers who submitted entries in MiBiz’s annual Healthiest Employers Awards collectively scored below the average of their peers around the nation. The West Michigan entries received a composite score of 45.93, which compares to a national score of 48.74 on a scale zero to 100, according to Healthiest Employer LLC, the Indianapolis-based group that conducts the awards with partners in 46 markets across the nation that drew entries from some 1,800 employers. The index compiled by Healthiest Employer is based on 65 questions that can generate up to 600 points for an entry. MiBiz spoke with Healthiest Employer CEO Rod Reason to discuss the local results.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s partnership with an arm of WebMD Health Corp. could help to extend wellness into an area where it’s gained the least traction: small businesses.

Companies put a lot of resources and time into creating wellness programs, but even the best planning cannot guarantee that employees will get involved.

Proposed regulations from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would provide employers some clarity as they look to avoid the scrutiny of federal regulators who are on guard for corporate wellness programs that they believe go too far.

Wellness is no longer just about getting employees to lose excess weight, exercise more or eat better to improve their physical health and maybe trim the company’s health-care costs.

It’s no longer enough for companies to focus their wellness plans on employees’ physical health.

Mylan N.V.’s move to acquire Perrigo Co. plc is headed to a potential hostile takeover bid that will play out in the coming months.

A trio of West Michigan hospitals plans to move quickly to take advantage of a pending rule change that would allow them to treat more heart patients who come to their facilities, rather than referring them elsewhere.

A West Michigan company plans to capitalize on pending federal regulations of dental waste to drive sales outside of its current Midwest market.

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