Study Finds No Quick Savings From Workplace Wellness Programs

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2013)—Getting employees to pledge to eat their broccoli, hit the treadmill and shun cigarettes aren’t necessarily a sure way to save money, according to the findings of a new study that raises doubts about whether wellness programs companies are rushing to adopt actually do lead go savings.

In what’s being called the most rigorous look yet inside the wellness trend, researchers tracked the program at BJC HealthCare, a major St. Louis hospital system, for two years.

Employee hospitalizations dropped dramatically, by 41 percent overall for six major conditions targeted by the hospital's wellness program, but increased outpatient costs erased those savings.

The study appeared in Monday's issue of the journal Health Affairs.

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