Arlington receives WellCity Award
June 30, 2009 · 10:54 AM
The city of Arlington was honored with the WellCity Award by the Association of Washington Cities.
Arlington was one of 34 Washington cities and towns that received recognition for its workplace wellness program at the Association’s Annual Conference. This is Arlington’s 10th consecutive award. Arlington is one of only two cities in the state to earn its 10th consecutive award.
The AWC WellCity Award recognizes cities and towns that demonstrate best practices in employee health promotion. A city must meet the minimum criteria in each of nine WellCity standards to receive the award.
“Health care costs hit Washington cities and town hard over the past decade, rising 200 percent from 1998 – 2008. Municipal leaders across the state are taking action. Today more than 200 Washington cities offer worksite wellness programs to help control the direct and indirect costs of poor health.” said Mike McCarty, AWC Acting Executive Director.
“Well designed, worksite wellness programs help reduce employee health risks and health care costs. In Washington state, city employees with strong wellness programs average $300 per year per employee less in health care claims than those without wellness programs. Employees who engage in wellness programs have been successful in reducing their health risk factors which leads to a reduction in cost,” said Gayla Gjertsen, AWC’s Director of Insurance Services.
“The easiest and most cost-effective way to contain medical costs is through an Employee Wellness program. Our program results in reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs, and enhanced morale through events that make participation fun for employees to learn to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Sherri Phelps, Arlington’s Wellness Coordinator.
“Other benefits of employee wellness programs include improved morale, increased productivity, reduced use of sick leave, reduced workers’ compensation claims, and reduced health care utilization and costs,” said Gjertsen. “Wellness programs such as Arlington’s help the city operate more efficiently and contribute to maintaining affordable health care coverage for all AWC Trust-insured cities and employees.”