Health Care and Lifestyle Choices
Dr. J. Jeffery Burnich
Senior Vice President, System Care Management
MHI Wellness Group
Businesses that promote wellness among their health plan members are getting a four-to-one return on their investment, according to Dr. Jeffery Burnich. Put simply, “To help lower your health costs, promote wellness programs.”
Burnich stressed that an aging, less healthy population guarantees that health care costs will increase in the coming years, unless we focus more attention on wellness. Life expectancy in this country, he noted, increased from 47 years in 1900 to 77 years in 2000. People in America age 65 and older increased from 3 million in 1900 to nearly 35 million in 1996. By 2030 the number will have doubled to 70 million.
With age comes a significant increase in health care usage, Burnich explained. One-third of US health care costs, or $300 billion, are attributable to older Americans (those age 65 and over).
Burnich said that many organizations adopt one of six wellness programs, which are intended to address most of the major illnesses in this country:
- stress management,
- weight management,
- physical fitness,
- medical self-care, and
- smoking cessation.
Wellness programs work both with those who are healthy and those who are coping with disease, such as someone suffering from heart disease. Using a touch-tone, for instance, patients can report vital signs they can identify from home to their physicians. If the data indicates a problem, the medical staff can intervene immediately, before the problem accelerates to the point that hospitalization is necessary.
Smokers generate 31% higher claim costs than nonsmokers.
Wellness and disease management should:
- Provide financial incentives to plan members who access wellness services.
- Provide wellness programs through seminars, literature, websites and telephones.
- Direct coaching of members.
- Establish a wellness council for plan members.
- Analyze medical claims to determine high diagnosis claims.
- Offer health care appraisals to identify problems and suggest solutions.
Medical expenditures were $1.4 trillion in 2000, and are expected to reach $2 trillion in 2010. Health care costs to businesses increased by double digits in 2000 and 2001.
Burnich directs the physician executives and outcomes management for clinical performance improvement at the Mount Carmel Health System. He also oversees the clinical research trials as well as the process of functional physician integration. He has worked in clinical practice as a board-certified internist.
President’s Annual Report
Elmer J. Khal, NCPERS President
A View From Washington
Morton Kondracke, Executive Editor, Roll Call
Legislative Overview of the 108th Congress
Frederick H. Nesbitt, NCPERS Executive Director/Legislative Counsel
GASB--Reporting Retiree Health Care Costs
Paul Zorn, Director, Governmental Research, Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company
Laurie L. Burgess, M.S., Executive Vice President, Bailit Health Purchasing
Phil Angelides, Treasurer, State of California
Legal Update of Public Pension Issues
Robert D. Klausner, Attorney at Law, Klausner & Kaufman, PA
The Economic Environment and Market Expectations
Dr. Anthony Chan, Senior Economist, Banc One Investment Advisors
The Changing Landscape of Securities Litigation by Pension Systems
Douglas M. McKeige, Partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, LLP
Investing in Today’s Market
How Are Your Peers Coping with the Current Funding Environment
Joanna Bewick, CFA, Vice President, Strategic Services, Fidelity Investments
Active vs. Passive Investing
David M. Blitzer, PhD., Managing Director, Standard & Poor’s
Solutions to the Spiraling Health Care Costs
Michael Jacobs, Principal, Mercer Human Resource Consulting
Health Care and Lifestyle Choices
Dr. J. Jeffery Burnich, Senior Vice President, System Care Management, MHI Wellness Group
Retirees and Prescription Drugs
Christopher R. Hulla, Principal and Benefit Consultant, Buck Consultants
Prefunding Health Benefits
William F. Robinson, Jr., Area Vice President, Gallagher Byerly, IInc.