Gov. Dave Heineman recently announced the 2012 recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Award. This year, 26 Nebraska employers will be honored for successful efforts in promoting workplace wellness. The Fillmore County Hospital in Geneva is receiving a Sower Award for its dedication to this cause.
A total of 153 awards have been given since the program began five years ago. Nebraska is one of only a handful of states nationwide honoring wellness efforts of employers.
“These awards recognize employers for their serious commitment to employee well-being,” Heineman said. “Prevention and wellness efforts in the workplace have produced higher productivity, better employee satisfaction and helped control health care costs. Wellness works every time. These programs are helping more Nebraskans lead healthier lives.”
The award was created to recognize Nebraska employers that have developed successful models for encouraging wellness at work. Representatives from companies in greater Nebraska will be honored at a luncheon in Gering on Tuesday, September 25, and in Kearney on Tuesday, October 9. Businesses located in the Lincoln and Omaha area will be recognized at the WorkWell luncheon in Lincoln on Thursday, September 27.
Factors considered for the award included the level of support for the program by company leaders, assessment of employee needs, wellness plan design, outcomes and benefits, and policies supporting healthy behaviors. Wellness programs typically provide employees with health education, health screenings and opportunities for exercise.
Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer, said, “We are excited that Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently recognized Nebraska as being a national leader in workplace wellness programs. That’s because our programs empower employees to make good decisions about the health risk factors in their lives. As a result, workers can take action to avoid chronic illnesses that can adversely impact their health and affect their quality of life. It’s our hope that the Governor’s Wellness Award program will encourage more businesses to offer employee health and wellness programs.”
Nebraska’s workplace wellness program offers two categories. The Sower Award recognizes workplaces that have established quality wellness programs; the Grower Award takes it to the next level, and honors businesses and organizations demonstrating significant improvement in employee health status through their wellness programs.