CEOs promote wellness programs, target cancer

About 300 CEOs from 14 states are part of an effort, led by the American Cancer Society, to get employers to embrace wellness programs and fight cancer, Jackie Crosby reports in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“CEOs Against Cancer” is aimed at getting business leaders involved in promoting healthy workplace cultures, preventing cancer and reducing health care costs by improving employees’ health. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer costs an estimated $228.1 billion a year in health care expenses and lost productivity.

Corporations involved in the effort include 3M, General Mills, Walgreens, Pratt & Whitney, and Major League Baseball.

Wellness provisions are a key part of the tentative agreement between the Malloy administration and state employee unions, and, according to workers and union leaders, one of the biggest pieces of concern as bargaining unit votes on the agreement approach.

One CEO, Richard Davis of U.S. Bancorp, told Crosby that his company’s wellness program, which includes access to counseling to help quit smoking, mobile mammograms and subsidized Weight Watchers, led to reduced absenteeism, fewer medications and better health. But he also said that wellness programs are a “loss leader” for the first three to five years.