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Employee Health Promotion More Important Than Ever in Economic Crunch

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The current economic slowdown reinforces the need for employers to protect their most valuable asset -- employees -- through programs to promote prevention, wellness and chronic disease management, DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance says.

"Tough economic times make it critically important to keep employees healthy, productive and on the job," DMAA President and CEO Tracey Moorhead says. "Wellness and chronic condition management programs contribute to that goal and represent a sound investment for employers -- especially now, when good investments are hard to find."

Citing reports that the economic downturn has forced many Americans to forgo routine health care, such as physician visits and medication refills, Moorhead says health care purchasers and payers must redouble efforts to promote good health and chronic condition management. "Now is when we most need these programs, especially in the workplace," she said.

Recent surveys paint a troubling picture of the response by many Americans to the nation's economic crisis. Separate polls by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and CIGNA show as many as a quarter to a third of U.S. consumers have avoided physician visits to save money and that 10 percent or more have delayed refilling prescriptions or taken smaller doses than prescribed to make existing prescriptions last longer.

Worse, today's economic situation has created increased levels of stress, a contributing factor to depression, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The American Psychological Association reports that almost half of Americans say they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family's basic needs. Eight out of 10 cited the economy as a significant cause of stress, up 66 percent from six months earlier. Similarly, a National Business Group on Health survey found that one out of four workers said they are more stressed today than they were two years ago and cited finances among the top three causes.

"Clearly, our nation's workers are at increased risk of declining health due to the slowing economy," Moorhead says. "Wellness, care management and health promotion programs offer a proven solution. Employers who remain committed to these initiatives, we believe, stand the best chance of riding out the current economic crisis on the back of a healthy, productive workforce."

About DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance

DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance represents more than 200 organizations and individuals and convenes all stakeholders along the care continuum toward population health improvement. Through advocacy, research and promotion of best practices, DMAA advances population-based strategies to improve care quality and outcomes and reduce preventable costs for individuals with and at risk of chronic conditions.

SOURCE DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance
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