Statement issued by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce:
While many Hoosiers are embarking on a New Year’s resolution to get healthier so to should companies and their employees, believes the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. To further promote this practice, the Indiana Chamber – the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy and information organization – is now the new home of the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI).
Since 1988, the WCI has provided services promoting healthier lifestyles for Hoosiers through certifying workplace wellness programs. It has been the only statewide not-for-profit group exclusively dedicated to corporate health promotion.
“More businesses need to be made aware of the unmistakable benefits to companies with wellness practices in place. Clearly the most important thing is employees get healthier. And as a result, healthy employees are more productive at work and go to the doctor less – positively impacting health insurance premiums,” offers Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.
“Studies show that nearly 60% of employers’ profits are spent on health benefits; a significant portion of that is due to employees with preventable illness. These are health problems that can be improved and are caused by leading an inactive, unhealthy lifestyle.”
WCI has offered, among other benefits, personal coaches and strategic initiatives for participants in the Well Business Certification process for employers. The WCI’s move to the Indiana Chamber umbrella is designed to increase its reach to all corners of the state and to expand the benefits offered.
“More than half of our waking hours are spent at work or commuting to and from work,” says State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “Worksites are an ideal setting to reach a large percentage of our population to encourage greater activity, improved nutrition and avoidance of tobacco – all of which aid in prevention and control of chronic disease.”
“I have no doubt this merger of the Indiana Chamber and WCI will help support Indiana’s economic prosperity and quality of life by expanding their reach to employers throughout the state as they work together to promote well workplace strategies,” believes Dr. Larkin. “Congratulations to everyone involved. This kind of creative partnership is exactly what INShape Indiana has always encouraged."
The Indiana Chamber will continue to utilize the experience and knowledge of the WCI Advisory Board and member volunteers while also bringing on board a full-time project coordinator to run the program.
“I see this merger as one of the most exciting and historic developments in health and productivity in Indiana. This incredible partnership, with encouragement from INShape Indiana, will help take wellness to an outcome-based level throughout the state,” says WCI President Mike Campbell.
“The WCI certification process for member companies incorporates nationally-proven objectives, processes and policies that enhance the services of the many wonderful wellness specialists and vendors across the state. The final outcome for Hoosier employers is a strategy impacting the culture, health, insurance costs, productivity, absenteeism, workers’ compensation costs and, ultimately, the bottom line.”
Wellness is not a new venture for the Indiana Chamber. The Indiana Employee Health & Wellness Summit – presented in partnership with WCI and Gov. Daniels’ INShape Indiana initiative – has seen substantial growth in recent years, with more than 300 attendees in 2010. The organization’s BizVoice magazine has also produced a number of wellness articles and guest columns over the last five years, and will focus the July/August 2011 edition on wellness.