Local Government Wellness Programs: A Viable Option to Decrease Healthcare Costs and Improve Productivity

Source: Abraham David Benavides and Haillee David, Public Personnel Management, Volume 39 No. 4, Winter 2010
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In an effort to reduce the rising costs of health care many local governments are turning to alternative and innovative strategies to mitigate the problem. One solution has been to offer a wellness program for employees. The article reviews the research on employee assistance programs and differentiates between them and the current wellness programs that are in place today. Wellness programs have proved to be cost effective and the return on investment has been well worth the initial cost. A recent study is reviewed to show the current profile of wellness programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. More local governments in this area have initiated wellness programs and the results so far have been encouraging. The article argues that, though wellness programs at the local level of government are not new, they have been repackaged as a positive alternative to reduce costs. A win/win situation arises for the public employee when their health is promoted and they are being productive stewards of tax payer dollars.

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