Health Programs for Business and Government

health programs

Health programs are designed to reduce disease and disability, promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors, and provide access to quality care. The US government offers a wide variety of programs on the national and local levels, including Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Department of Defense TRICARE and TRICARE for Life programs. These programs are funded by taxes and administered through policies on the federal and state level.

Community-Based Health Improvement Programs

These programs are based in communities and often operated by private non-profit or public entities, including tribal and faith-based organizations. They operate under the direction of a patient-majority governing board and offer services that are affordable to all patients regardless of ability to pay. They provide high-quality primary care, mental and substance use, and oral health services to medically underserved areas and populations. They also offer health education, food delivery, transportation, and other support services.

To be effective, programs must include community members in decision-making from the start. This builds trust and demonstrates value, and it can help ensure buy-in from the community, even when the initial steps may be small toward stated goals. Providing communities with the guidance and expertise to measure their progress is also important, especially at the early stages of a new initiative.

Employee Benefits

A robust benefits package can attract and retain employees, but it comes at a cost. A recent Mercer survey found that 84% of large employers rate “enhancing benefits to improve recruitment and retention” as one of their top strategic priorities for the next few years. In addition to offering affordable health coverage, many companies are turning to wellness and other incentive-based programs that encourage employee behavior change.

Despite a tight labor market, retaining employees continues to be a top priority for most employers. A strong benefits package is key to recruiting and retaining skilled employees, and providing a competitive advantage in the marketplace. However, health costs continue to rise, making it difficult for employers to keep up. To help control expenses, some are turning to voluntary benefits like short-term disability coverage and chronic illness management.

While the benefits of these programs are often intangible, measurable improvements in quality of life can be measured and reported through metrics such as QALYs. This can demonstrate the value of these investments to business and government leaders. It can also help make the case for additional funding to address social determinants of health. For example, successful efforts to eradicate diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis, and to reduce smoking and obesity have demonstrated the return on investment. The challenge is to expand these approaches to more of the most costly diseases and conditions. Efforts to achieve this will require a broad array of partners, from the private and nonprofit sectors to academia and community-based organizations. This will be an essential challenge for the next generation of public health leaders.

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