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'Live Well for Life' Benefits Companies and Workers
Date:9/8/2008

Sutter Health Partners' Wellness Program Proves Cost-Saving for Employers

and Life-Saving for Employees

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Kurt Wetzel lost 65 pounds in five months. Donna Rosenbusch, R.N., is completing triathlons. Marcia Augsburger is seeing decreased absenteeism and lower levels of stress and burnout among the attorneys and staff at the law firm where she is a partner. And a recent study shows that employers are seeing initial cost savings of approximately $1,000 per employee per year. This all results from participating in Sutter Health's employee wellness program -- Live Well for Life.

Live Well for Life is a comprehensive program that teaches healthy lifestyle behaviors. Employees team up with trained wellness coaches who provide direction and motivation as they work toward their health goals. Based on individual needs, participants receive anything from diet and exercise action plans, to stress management and work-life balance tools.

"Sutter Health Partners is building a culture of wellness," said Margaret Sabin, CEO Sutter Health Partners. "Over the past six years we have worked with several employers across Northern California to create tailored lifestyle management and wellness programs for approximately 20,000 people."

An analysis of Sutter Health Partners' Live Well for Life program -- modeled from data published by professional services firm Towers Perrin -- found that the estimated initial cost savings per employee per year is nearly $1,000. Clients who have implemented the Live Well for Life program report that many employees have realized major improvements in their health -- with a significant percentage moving from a high-risk to low-risk category within their identified condition.

Some specific clients' results include the following:

-- 25 percent of participants lowered their blood pressure

-- 27 percent of participants reduced their cholesterol levels

-- 11 percent of participants realized a decline in body mass index

"This recent study confirms that our programs not only help employees improve their long-term health, but also help employers reduce their overall health care costs," added Sabin. "Sutter Health Partners is truly a partnership between employees and their workplace. By working together employees can improve their health and employers can help moderate the rising costs of health care -- and even pass those savings along to their hard-working staff."

A recent report by the Integrated Benefits Institute concluded medical costs (direct expenditures) are the "tip of the iceberg and represent only 26 percent of the total health care costs; fully 74 percent of the costs are indirect" (these include: lost productivity, subpar quality, temporary staffing, absenteeism, employee and customer dissatisfaction, presenteeism and turnover/replacement training expenses).

Sutter Health Partners was a 2008 finalist for the prestigious ABBY award as part of the 10th annual Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Innovations in Healthcare event. Sutter Health Partners was nominated for the award, which honors health care providers executing innovative and successful approaches to enhancing quality and affordability in health care.

Live Well for Life - Real Results

Kurt Wetzel, a Sutter Health employee, hoped Sutter Health Partners could help him lose 55 pounds. Five months after his wellness coach helped him create a tailored weight loss program, Kurt was not only 42 pounds lighter, but also healthy enough to no longer need high blood pressure medication. "What I really like about Live Well for Life is that it's all about balance and not making drastic changes that I can't sustain," said Wetzel. "It's a great way to ease into a healthy lifestyle. Not only do I feel physically healthier, but I find I have more energy and manage stress more effectively. However, the greatest benefit is the increased quality time I'm spending with my family. This is time I might not have if it wasn't for the Sutter Health Partners' program."

Donna Rosenbusch, R.N., a labor and delivery nurse at Sutter-affiliated Marin General Hospital believed Sutter Health Partners could help her find better balance in her life after she switched to late-night work shifts. "I was never really overweight, but I was working 12 hour night shifts, and I knew I had to fight off the tendency to pack on those extra pounds by eating late at night." After working directly with a wellness coach, Rosenbusch has been inspired to start doing triathlons. Her commitment has also inspired friends and family around her and even encouraged her husband to lose 30 pounds over nine months.

In the Sacramento area, McDonough Holland & Allen PC has been working with Sutter Health Partners for about two years. "The personalized attention that the Sutter Health Partners coaches bring to our wellness programs is truly unique and has had a significant positive impact on our company morale, retention and absenteeism," said Marcia Augsburger, attorney and head of the firm's health care practice group. "Like many folks, our attorneys and staff struggle with stress and workload management. The Sutter Health Partners coaches have offered us unique, effective tools and techniques to help our partners, associates, administrators and staff adopt healthier lifestyles."

About Sutter Health

Sutter Health is a family of physician organizations, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers that share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. Serving more than 100 communities in Northern California, Sutter Health is a regional leader in cardiac care, cancer treatment, orthopedics, obstetrics, and newborn intensive care, and is a pioneer in advanced patient safety technology. For more information, visit http://www.sutterhealth.org.

About Sutter Health Partners

Sutter Health Partners is an organization that provides proven and personalized lifestyle management and wellness coaching programs that improve health status, productivity, and performance. The positive impact on behavior change is accomplished through expert coaching supported by a nationally recognized health risk assessment with an integrated coach portal, e-health tools and on-site health improvement seminars and other classes. These full service worksite wellness programs are delivered by partnering with employers, employees and health systems. For more information, visit http://www.sutterhealthpartners.org.


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SOURCE Sutter Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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