Businesses Gain a Healthy Advantage
On October 5, 2012, Saint Francis Medical Center’s Services to Business hosted its fifth annual Business Health Summit, offering insights and information to help businesses create a stronger, healthier workforce.
Seventy-two guests attended the event, which was highlighted by a keynote presentation from Jeff Skiles entitled, “Adapt, React and Don’t Fear a Change of Course.” Skiles was copilot of US Airways Flight 1549, which made an emergency landing on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. Teaming up with Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, he helped navigate the aircraft to safety – saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew. Skiles shared the story of “The Miracle on the Hudson,” and explained how lessons from Flight 1549 can help businesses operate at peak efficiency. By working together, Skiles noted, members of an organization can successfully face challenges and accomplish greatness.
The event also included a presentation from Saint Francis Medical Center occupational medicine physician Dennis J. Straubinger, DO, MPH, MRO, who spoke on “Five Poisons in the Workplace.” In addition, pain management physician Carmen N. Keith, MD, discussed pain management in the workplace; pulmonologist/sleep medicine physician W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM, presented on sleep disturbances in the workplace; and certified athletic trainer/certified ergonomic assessment specialist Robert L. Bunger, ATC, CEAS, spoke on workplace ergonomics.
Attendees gave the 2012 Summit high marks for content and presentation. Program evaluations were overwhelmingly positive and included comments such as: “The keynote presentation was excellent and the event offered useful ideas,” “The conference would be useful to professionals in most industries,” “The conference was a valuable opportunity to learn and meet professionals from other businesses” and “I would recommend the conference to business associates.”
To schedule a Saint Francis Medical Center physician to assess your workplace, call Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.
Workers’ Compensation Shortfalls Shift Funding to Victims and Families
A recent study on the effectiveness of Workers’ Compensation benefits shows other methods of funding carry the brunt of the total cost of occupational injury and illness.
“Victims and their families absorb most of the cost shifting,” note J. Paul Leigh, PhD, and James P. Marcin, MD, MPH, in the April edition of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Moreover, ‘innocent’ third parties such as other private non-workers’ compensation insurance carriers as well as taxpayers absorb roughly 37 percent of the amount not paid by Workers’ Compensation.”
Leigh and Marcin’s research shows Workers’ Compensation typically covers 44.5 percent of medical costs, but only 20.7 percent of total costs. The authors define total costs as lost earnings, lost fringe benefits and lost home production.
The percentage of medical costs not covered by Workers’ Compensation includes:
Private funds - 29.9 percent
Out of pocket – 8.7 percent
Private health insurance – 21.2 percent
Public funds – 25.6 percent
Federal funds – 18.6 percent
State and local – 7 percent
“The significant amount of cost shifting illustrates the inadequacy of existing data sets for capturing the true costs of occupational injury and illness,” the authors state.
Are You Well Informed About the Flu?
When the weather turns crisp and the leaves start to fall, flu season is just around the corner. Luckily, Saint Francis' Services to Business can help. We work with employers to schedule set times for our personnel to come to the workplace and deliver flu vaccines. This convenient approach offers many benefits to employers — by helping reach a greater number of immunized staff through peer encouragement, controlling costs and decreasing the risk of higher absenteeism rates due to the flu.
A number of misperceptions about the flu get passed on, along with those sneezes and wheezes. Here are some flu facts to help set the record straight:
Can a flu shot give you the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot cause illness. The influenza virus is inactivated in flu vaccines.
Why do some people feel unwell after having a flu shot?
The most prevalent side effect of seasonal flu shots is discomfort at the site of the injection. Soreness may arise as the immune system makes protective antibodies to the deactivated viruses in the vaccine – or it may develop as a result of the needle stick. In rare cases, fever, muscle pain and feelings of discomfort and weakness occur for a few days.
Why do some people develop flu-like symptoms even though they were vaccinated?
Sometimes, people are exposed to the flu virus in the window of time before their flu vaccine can protect them (it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect). Other reasons? The person may have another type of virus or a strain of the flu virus different from the one targeted by the vaccine. In some cases, people still develop the seasonal flu despite getting the vaccine – particularly the elderly and those with a weakened immune system.
Will the protection wear off if a person gets vaccinated early in the season?
No. Protection should last through one flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available each fall. However, the vaccine still offers protective benefits if you get it in December or later in the season.
Can you get the flu from the nasal spray vaccine?
While the nasal spray flu vaccine does include live viruses, they are weakened and cannot cause you to get the flu. However, some people do report mild side effects, such as runny nose, congestion or chills.
Is the stomach flu really the flu?
Influenza is a respiratory illness, not a stomach or intestinal illness. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may be caused by other viruses or bacteria, and are rarely the primary symptoms of influenza.