Promoting Annual Physicals Can Cut Health Costs

There may be no such thing as a sure thing, but employers are finding the chance of employees needing major medical procedures predictably drop as access increases to preventive care services such as annual physicals.

Not surprisingly, men are much less likely to have an annual physical than women. Only 57 percent of men have seen a doctor in the past year compared to 74 percent of women, according to a study released by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Black and Hispanic men are even less likely than white men to have an annual check-up.

Conversely, men require hospitalization more often than women for preventable conditions such as diabetes complications and congestive heart failure. Identifying potential health issues early in their development may reduce employer costs associated with sick pay, reduced productivity and hiring temporary help.

Encouraging annual exams in the workplace can create a wellness-oriented culture that benefits both the employer and members of the workforce. Eliminating or reducing co-payment costs, paired with an educational campaign highlighting the benefits of this healthy choice, is an effective strategy that can shift employee attitudes about annual physicals.

Here are some of the most common health screens and preventive tests:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – A measure of body fat based on height and weight
  • Cholesterol – High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease
  • Blood Pressure – Increases the chances of heart or kidney disease and stroke
  • Cardiovascular Disease – Something as simple as an aspirin tablet daily may be appropriate depending on age, health and lifestyle (ask your doctor)
  • Colorectal Cancer – Begin screening at age 50, perhaps younger depending on family history
  • Other Cancers – Ask your doctor if you should test for prostate, skin or other cancers
  • STDs – Sexually transmitted diseases
  • HIV – Your doctor may recommend this screening if you engage in high-risk activities
  • Depression – Seek help if you have feelings of despair and have little interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – This is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in the abdomen that can burst without warning
  • Diabetes – This disease is more common with overweight individuals and can cause a variety of health issues

Learn more about how Saint Francis Medical Center can help with physical exams for your workforce by calling Chad Clippard, referral services manager, at 573-331-3019.