This article is part 2 of a 2 part series. For Part 1, click here.
In “Part I” we began our discussion about wellness and introduced many different types of wellness programs. Here, we will continue the investigation of how chiropractic and wellness are a winning combination!
As of this writing, the Affordable Care Act has specific qualifications as to who would qualify (as well as to protect consumers like you and I) to participate in a wellness program. For example, programs must be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease and be based on a measurement, test, or screening, as well as not be overly burdensome. The program must be available to all who qualify and be given notice of the opportunity to qualify for the same reward through other means using simple to understand language. These programs must ensure flexibility for employers, which includes changes that increase the maximum allowable reward from 20% to 30% of health coverage costs and further increases the reward for smoking reduction / cessation programs up to 50%. Studies clearly show that workplace health programs have the potential to promote healthy behaviors, stimulate health screenings, educate about immunizations, stimulate follow-up care, and reduce workplace exposure to hazardous substances that can be harmful. Therefore, the proposed rules do not limit or specify the types of wellness programs employers can offer, and invite additional program ideas to protect consumers.
Chiropractors have the ability to support these programs as well as design their own programs to promote health and disease prevention. There are also educational opportunities for chiropractors to learn various methods of applying wellness programs into practice. Some of these include programs to combat insulin resistance (diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypoglycemia); fatty acid metabolism; alerting the public about toxic effects of food additives, preservatives, household products, and industrial chemicals; anti-inflammatory diet strategies; physical performance testing and exercise prescriptions; exercise’s impact on balance, learning, and emotional health; and more. In fact, many of these strategies are frequently incorporated into the treatment goals of a patient. For example, common treatment goals include pain reduction/cessation, posture retraining, and preventative strategies. That third goal of prevention often includes training of proper methods to bend/lift/pull/push; weight loss; core strengthening, stretching exercises, and physical performance measurements; body composition assessment (percent body fat); and more. Some companies have a chiropractor on site such as Sabre Holdings (parent company of Travelocity.com). CEO Sam Gilliland reported that for every dollar spent on wellness, they have saved about $3 – that’s a 300% return! An article in the American Journal of Health Promotions supports these findings reporting a $2.13 to $10 return can be expected through reduced medical claims, reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and more. With this amount of savings, it’s no surprise that 78% of Fortune 500 companies offer wellness programs. But it’s not just popular with large companies as 81% of American businesses with 50 or more employees now have some type of wellness programs available. It’s clear that integrating chiropractic into a wellness program is a “win-win” for everyone!