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Worksite health promotion is an investment in a company’s most important asset — its employees. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to perform well and less likely to exhibit presenteeism — showing up to work when sick and, as a result, underperforming — when they are in optimal health.And the New Year provides a perfect opportunity to introduce or re-energize workplace wellness, says Renay Gontis, communications coordinator with JRG Advisors, the management company of ChamberChoice.“While the idea of workplace wellness is not a new one, the implementation process may be,” says Gontis. “As the workplace dynamic continues to…
Mike Duggan always found it offensive that hospitals profit more when a patient’s health problems are more severe.“It’s really true: Hospitals make more money the sicker you are,” says the president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. “If we recycle the same sick people through hospitals over and over, the doctors and hospitals make more money from that. The fact is, the worse off patients are, the better the doctors and hospitals are, which never made any sense to me.”Last May, Duggan and his leadership team at DMC decided to do something about it by applying to become one…
When employees hear the term “consumer-driven health plan,” they may panic. The thought of a high-deductible plan that only covers preventive care until that deductible is met can sound scary to employees used to a system of co-pays and co-insurance.So if you are moving to this type of health plan, you need to start explaining it early and include a tax expert to show employees how they may actually benefit, says Randy Ressel, vice president in Missouri for HealthLink.“You need to make this decision well in advance of open enrollment and then help employees understand why you are making this…
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 10:15

The human side of the performance equation

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A few years ago, Procter & Gamble’s Pringles plant in Jackson, Tenn., had an enviable reputation. The plant produced and distributed all of Pringles’ products in North and South America and the Asia-Pacific Region. The plant had received P&G’s highest certification, awarded for superior discipline and best work processes and practices. Its performance in all aspects of the business – production, delivery, service, quality and safety – was spectacular. In short, the plant was a shining star in the P&G family, performing at a world-class level.It would have been easy to rest on their laurels. But for Nancy Gipson, plant…
How do you know which companies have the credentials to serve your business needs?In a variety of industries there are standards that can be used as a benchmark. The average consumer may not understand the behind-the-scene factors that go into setting the standard; however, the consumer does understand the meaning and intent of the third-party oversight of a specific segment. This is well established in consumer products and medicine, but the service industry is another matter, says William F. Hutter, CEO of Sequent Inc.“Can anyone be an attorney? No, there are licensing rules,” says Hutter. “Would you do business with…
As employee wellness and health assume increasing importance in the workplace, the need for more qualified wellness leaders is growing. Employers need to know their investment in wellness is producing leaders who are current with the latest advances and emerging trends. They need to know their investment is being used efficiently and effectively to design comprehensive integrated programs, effective incentive plans and measurable results.As a result, there has been an increase in the number of workplace wellness certification programs and the emergence of certified wellness leaders.“Successful wellness programs need to have holistic health champions in the workplace,” says Rose Gantner,…
The cost of providing health benefits to employees continues to be a burden for many employers that are already struggling with tight finances. Now, more than ever, offering competitive benefits is an important tool for companies seeking to recruit and retain employees, but it is becoming more difficult, as health benefits often account for one of the top three expenses for a business.As a result, balancing value for employees with cost management can be a challenge, says Joanne Tegethoff, account executive with JRG Advisors, the management company of ChamberChoice.“As the cost of benefits continue to rise, employers are looking for…
Your company offers medical benefits, and it offers pharmacy benefits. But if you are not integrating these two components, you may be spending more than you need to, says Mark Haegele, director, sales and account management at HealthLink.“Having both data sets boosts your ability to see the whole picture of your members and your costs,” says Haegele. “It really opens the door for new opportunities to control costs. If you just have the medical claims data, or just the pharmacy claims data, that only gives you part of the picture. But when you integrate that information and tie the pharmacy…
There’s great hope on the coronary heart disease front with more options for diagnosis, treatment and recovery than ever before. Two-thirds of adults survive the disease — 27 percent higher than a decade ago — and impressive new technologies and techniques show tremendous promise.Progress is impressive and risk factors well known, yet more Americans continue to die from coronary heart disease than any disease. While hereditary factors play a role, unhealthy lifestyle choices remain a significant culprit.To learn more, Smart Business turned to Steven Schiff, M.D., prominent cardiologist and medical director of invasive cardiology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center;…
The so-called “fitness” industry has become awash in a sea of backward thinking, untested and unproven premises and, worst of all, dangerous practices.“It may sound extreme to suggest it, but if ever there was a Dark Age for exercise we are in it,” says Joshua Trentine, president of Overload Fitness.Smart Business learned more from Trentine about how to leave the dark ages behind.Why do you say we are living in the dark ages of exercise?Most of our collective consciousness concerning exercise is based on aerobics philosophy. In 1968, Kenneth H. Cooper coined the term aerobics to denote his fascination with…
The investment market has been rocky the past few years, and there is no indication that volatility is going to change any time soon.But current market conditions make it an excellent time to invest in dividend-paying stocks, says Sonia Mintun, CFA, vice president with Ancora Advisors LLC.“Given the historically low bond yield environment, dividend-paying stocks are an attractive alternative,” says Mintun. “Right now, you can assemble a portfolio of quality stocks with a yield of 3 to 3.5 percent, in comparison to the 10-year Treasury yield of approximately 2 percent. Dividend-paying stocks also offer downside protection, providing a cushion during…
I admit it. I’m an expert on fear.I became an expert when I found myself paralyzed with fear when my first child was born. I couldn’t believe that I was responsible for this tiny being and literally anything and everything could happen to him. I didn’t feel qualified to protect him or run my business. I was too busy worrying.As you might expect, I was not much fun to be around. I didn’t enjoy being in groups, attending parties and would get depressed and tearful while alone in my office. I had a strong fear of failure that went way…
Returning injured workers to their jobs has been a high priority for Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) since the inception of the Health Partnership Program; however, we can always improve. MCOs, BWC, employers and providers must work collaboratively to advance return-to-work efforts.Regardless of the greatest intentions and efforts of MCOs, Third Party Administrators (TPAs) and BWC, employers of all sizes and industries should have at least one thing in common — workers’ compensation must be a priority. This may not be a part of your business that welcomes you warmly when you come…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:02

New Year, new paperwork

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With the turn of the New Year, many Ohioans with group health insurance have been inundated with information regarding new or renewal health insurance policies and may be asking, “What is this information, what does it mean, and what am I supposed to do with it?”According to a 2009-2010 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of Ohioans have health insurance through their employer and many have questions about their benefits, especially at the beginning of a calendar year. Employees may be directing these questions to you or your employee benefits managers.“December is one of the busiest times of…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Kaiser Permanente has a commitment to care

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Taking measures to promote employee wellness can save you money.In fact, a comprehensive study showed that workplace health promotion programs resulted in a 25-30 percent reduction in medical and absenteeism costs, according to a report by the World Health Organization and World Economic Forum.Kaiser Permanente, a leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan, uses HealthWorks, a customizable work force health strategy, to help employers take advantage of their benefits and create a corporate wellness plan. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., the organization added its 15th medical facility within Ohio last month.“If (companies) make an investment in employee or associate wellness,…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Kaiser Permanente: About our sponsors

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Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans, serving more than 8.6 million members. In Northeast Ohio, Kaiser Permanente addresses the health care needs of approximately 130,000 members in a nine-county area. Services are provided by more than 180 Ohio Permanente Medical Group physicians, 3,000 network affiliated physicians and more than 1,900 nonphysician employees. In 2011, Kaiser Permanente of Ohio celebrated 47 years of providing care in Northeast Ohio.As a health care organization in the 21st century, we have a mission — to provide quality care for our members and their families and to contribute to the…
Last month Steve Carter, president and CEO of ii2P, challenged small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) to take a look at investment decisions around their current support models. This month, he stresses the importance of adopting a strong sense of urgency to avoid upcoming challenges.“SMBs worldwide are projected to spend $1 trillion on IT by 2014. But unless something drastically changes, that spending could be like a heavy weight on a vessel headed into a perfect storm,” says Carter. “We want to stop, take a pause, and not repeat history by spending money on technologies without really looking for a composite…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

2012 Central Ohio Power 100

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You’ll see quite a few familiar faces on this year’s Power 100, and that might lead you to decide the list is a bit stale. Skeptics would say these so-called influential leaders of Central Ohio are content with the positions they have achieved and aren’t doing anything to make the region better. When you look at what they’ve achieved, however, you learn nothing could be further from the truth.Steve Steinour helped Huntington Bank make more than $800 million in loans to about 1,300 small and commercial businesses, putting the bank well ahead of its goal in this effort.Under the leadership…
With each day, companies are becoming more dependent upon their systems and data. While these changes offer significant opportunities and benefits, they also carry many new and significant risks, including cyber security risks that business owners and management need to be aware of.To protect your business from cyber security threats, it’s time to start thinking like a hacker. What sensitive or confidential data do you collect, store or transfer that could be compromised? And how vulnerable is that data to attack?The risk is significant for businesses that do not make cyber security a priority. Failing to put security measures and…
With the growth of the sustainable business model and conscientious companies’ focus on the triple bottom line — people, planet, profit — a new corporate structure is emerging that speaks to these values.The benefit corporation model allows sustainably minded companies to adopt a structure that frees them of the traditional corporation’s requirement to maximize profit and shareholder returns. Benefit corporations can stay true to their socially responsible missions and still earn a profit, two things that used to be at odds, says Gabrielle Sellei, an attorney at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC.“Unlike a nonprofit entity, a benefit corporation may…
Gender diversity in corporate leadershipIf a woman wants to pursue a corporate leadership role, it might be to her advantage to be a fast walker. That’s the candid advice of Rob Falkenberg, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Ohio.“I look for fast walkers,” he says. “I find that fast walkers are fast thinkers; they’re fast doers. I want people who are really driven, energetic and passionate about their work.”Falkenberg was one of three CEO panelists at the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Ohio Chapter discussion in October. The panelists were from leading Ohio health care organizations where women are clearly succeeding in corporate leadership…
Robert J. Habeeb had no intention of taking the easy path to lead First Hospitality Group Inc. through the recession. He wasn’t about to slash jobs and close hotels and then sit in his office and wait for the economic storm to pass. In fact, Habeeb was even leery about cutting bonuses.“We took a contrarian approach,” says Habeeb, president and COO at the 2,000-employee hotel management company. “Everyone would have understood if we had cut benefits or did away with reward programs or things like that. We did none of that. All of our benefit programs and our sophisticated network…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Spreading responsibility

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In 2008, Cobra Plastics Inc., led by President Kent A. Houser moved from a 33,000-square-foot plant in Twinsburg Township to a 100,000-square-foot facility in Macedonia. In 2010, Operations Manager Jerry Bialko joined the team, and since then, the aerosol overcap manufacturer has taken advantage of the extra space to transform its production processes, management system and culture to fully embrace lean manufacturing.Among the lean manufacturing initiatives Cobra has undertaken are a “Six S” sorting program (the six S’s stand for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain and safety), a continuous improvement employee training and development program, a monthly kaizen…
When Bernadette Boas was given a pink slip from her very lucrative, global vice president type of role, she was happy.But she didn’t understand why, so she decided to do some self-reflection.“I was that bitch with the walls up, and there was no internal dialogue going on at all,” she says.She recognized that her ruthless attitude had taken a toll on her health, as her body was mocking symptoms of a heart attack because of the stress and angst she was experiencing. She also saw that she had all the luxuries of life, but she didn’t have the things that…
Gregg Paradies started seeing signs of economic trouble in the summer of 2008 and knew right away he’d better take action.Paradies’ company, The Paradies Shops Inc., had enjoyed a long, virtually unbroken streak of growth since its inception in 1960. In its lifetime, the retailer had grown from a single toy store at Atlanta Municipal Airport to more than 500 shops in 75 airports, plus a handful of hotels, across the United States. But now, suddenly, the winning streak was in jeopardy.“We’ve had sales growth for 50 out of the 51 years we’ve been in existence, which is pretty remarkable,”…
How do you spell relief?The short answer is: C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R L-O-Y-A-L-T-Y and E-M-P-L-O-Y-E-E P-E-R-F-O-R-M-A-N-C-E.As leaders in business, we all struggle with how to find solutions to reduce the pain within our own competitive working environment. Building off of personal experiences, I have found that success comes from embracing a formula of unparalleled customer loyalty and exceptional employee performance.The key to gaining customer loyalty and employee performance is to earn it. Talk is cheap. It is then up to us create a blueprint to excel in these critical areas. Ask your customers and yourself these 10 probing questions. If you then execute…
Many businesses — especially in this economy — would love to be in the position of Petplan. The pet health insurer has experienced explosive growth over the past few years, climbing to $18.7 million in revenue during 2010 and a debut on the Inc. 500 list (No. 123) in 2011.But with explosive growth comes daunting challenges, and it has fallen on the husband and wife team of Chris and Natasha Ashton to lead the way. The co-founders and co-CEOs of Petplan — which is the DBA name of Fetch Insurance Services LLC — have needed to chart a course for…