Saturday, December 5, 2009

November 30, 2009

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of nature’s greatest visual gifts to us is the beauty of Fall. Our trees and vines are covered with gold, yellow and red leaves as they prepare for their winter dormancy. The leaves fall gently to the ground with an assurance that next Spring they will reappear wearing a coat of bright green and inspire us once again. The thought occurred to me that while we are conscious of this annual process, we often forget that it is not the leaves that make our trees what they are, it is the root system. We are making progress around here not because of bright colors. Rather our momentum has grown because of our unseen but critically important community-based root stock. A critical component of our root stock is this Business Council. It is my hope that all who read this weekly Bulletin will commit to some type of Council membership support in the upcoming year. For more information visit our website Our leaves are depending upon us.

One Employer’s Solution to Healthcare—Safeway
In order to learn more about national and state private sector thinking on healthcare, Dr. Alan Pierrot and I attended a meeting convened by the Committee for Economic Development, a national business think tank, and the Bay Area Council. One speaker offered Safeway’s approach based upon research and partnership:

• 70% of healthcare costs are driven by behavior.
• Four chronic conditions create 74% of costs.(Obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease)
• Obesity is a driving factor in all 4 chronic conditions.
• Noncompliance with recommended care reaches 67% for obesity.
• Transparency is critical to control costs.
• Obesity rates: Japan 3%, Switzerland 8%, Canada 15%, USA 34%.

Solution to Rising Costs
• Insure everyone.
• Create more personal responsibility.
• Encourage prevention and wellness by linking healthy behaviors to financial incentives.
• Provide cost and quality transparency.
• Pay more for results and less for services rendered.

Safeway’s Program
• Open to all employees.
• Focus on 4 issues—weigh, tobacco, blood pressure, cholesterol.
• Earn lower premiums through changed behavior.
• Distribute information on procedural costs and quality. For comparable services cost ranges go from 10:1 to 4:1. Hard costs $887 to $8,650; $3,538 to $16,779.

Since the program began in 2005, Safeway and its employee’s annual savings have gone from $19 million in 2006 to $5

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