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HealthBiz

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Metro Health Corp.’s proposed joint venture with Community Health Systems Inc. puts a considerable amount of money on the table that ultimately will go somewhere to support a charitable mission.

Hospitals claim proposed reforms to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law that would impose caps on what they charge to treat people injured in vehicle crashes would cost them a projected $1.2 billion annually.

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

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.

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