Key Steps In Developing New Workplace Health Policies

The direct commitment of senior management and the participation of employees in the development of workplace health policies are an essential prerequisite to the successful implementation of policies that are designed to address the real needs of the working community.The following main steps and/or activities should be considered in the development and implementation of workplace health management at the enterprise level:· Develop a short policy statement from the employer or senior executive that explicitly states senior management’s commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for the health management strategy within the company.· Educate managers and workers on the impact of environmental, occupational and lifestyle factors on their health and social well-being and on the economic situation and competing ability of the company to facilitate their participation in health management.· Determine the role of the medical, nursing, environmental and safety experts and other professionals needed to assist in the implementation of the health management strategy in the company.· Discuss economic appraisal of existing and projected outcomes to health, safety, and environmental health from the activities of the company.· Train staff in quality management principles and standards to be used for the workplace health management system. These are the same as those applied to quality assurance in the management of manufacturing, servicing or marketing operations.· Assure participation of management and employees in the development and implementation of workplace health management systems in the company.· Develop adequate tools for monitoring and evaluation of health, safety, social, economic and environmental outcomes to determine the impact on well-being of employees and competitiveness of the company.· Introduce systematic internal auditing and evaluation to be able to make necessary adjustments to the workplace health management system of the company.· External audit by a recognized certifying body, if necessary.Key steps in implementing workplace health PoliciesThe prerequisite for establishing good practice in workplace health management in companies is the conscious and creative support as well as the fullest possible participation of senior management, employees and their trade union representatives.They would co-operate in the development of the workplace health policy and in its implementation with the assistance of appropriate experts, e.g. from occupational health services, environmental health services or health promotion agencies, preferably from multidisciplinary preventive services. Quality management systems and internal and external auditing is believed to be supportive to the creation and maintenance of a healthy enterprise. Leading companies are increasingly integrating their health management and environment management into the overall corporate management system. The health and environment policy of the company determines targets, define processes, and assure financial and human resources necessary to act on the health determinants and improve social and physical environments in order to:

Create the greatest gain in health and working ability for the entire staff, and if possible, also for their families

Provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees while preserving the general environment and health of people living outside the premises

provide healthy and environmentally friendly products and services

ensure human rights of the entire staff
Coming up in the next chapter ” Key Benefits of Workplace Health Management

Understanding HMO, PPO and FFS Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance is offered in various forms today. Traditionally, health insurance plans were indemnity plans; the insured paid a premium, the physician provided health care services, the health insurance plan was billed, and the health insurance plan paid for covered services. As health care costs became astronomical, health insurance companies developed different plans that were aimed at providing quality health care at affordable prices. Managed health care became the buzzword for the health insurance industry, and health insurance plans became more complicated.Health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, and preferred provider networks, or PPOs, have largely replaced the traditional indemnity health plan. HMOs and PPOs utilize strategies to contain health care costs. These health plans are similar in certain ways. Both HMO and PPO plans contract with health care providers to provide health care services at reduced rates for the health insurance plan members. Typically both plans require the the member have a primary care provider, or PCP, who serves as a “gateway” to coordinate care for the member, and all specialty services are accessed by referral from the PCP. Both HMOs and PPOs require that certain services and products, usually the more costly ones, be reviewed by the health insurance reviewers for prior approval or prior authorization before the service is rendered. The health care provider must submit justification for these services as “medically necessary”, and the reviewer determines whether the service is a covered service. The plans do make provision for emergency situations that cannot wait for prior approval/authorization, but still require an approval process.HMOs and PPOs differ in significant ways, however. A PPO plan often covers services rendered by providers that are not in the plan network, though usually at a lower rate than given for network providers. HMOs usually offer no coverage for out-of-network health care providers.Advantages of HMO/PPO plans typically include lower health insurance premiums than those of traditional health insurance plans. HMOs and PPOs often offer coverage for preventive and health maintenance care not covered by indemnity plans. The health plan member is usually not required to file claims for health care services; contract providers bill the health insurance plan directly.Disadvantages of these managed health care plans include limiting coverage to providers in the health care plan. Plan members must change primary care providers if their provider is not in the health plan network. Many members do not want to change health care providers. Another disadvantage is that prior approval/authorization processes can be time-consuming and slow down the delivery of needed health care services. Specialty health care can only be accessed through referral from the PCP.In summary, HMOs and PPOs offer lower premiums and increased coverage, but limit members to their network of providers. Indemnity plans allow the member to see the health care provider of their choice, and to access specialty care when they want, but usually pay higher premiums for health insurance coverage. Ultimately the health plan member must decide whether choice of physician and access to specialty care are worth the higher premiums. Whatever plan is chosen, it is vital for members to know their health insurance plan, including what services are covered and what providers are in network.