Miller Canfield Offers Prescription for Reducing Healthcare Costs
There’s no magic pill to relieve the pain of soaring healthcare costs. But employers can lessen the hurt and take the lead in promoting healthier lifestyles among work colleagues by creating a health promotion program, says the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. – the 2004 Healthy Workplace Platinum award winner named by the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports.
"Like many companies, Miller Canfield went through shock, disbelief, and despair at the recent double-digit hike in the price of health benefits," said William J. Parsons , Miller Canfield’s director of administrative and human resources. "While experts debate the causes, studies have shown that physically fit employees incur less healthcare costs. We started a comprehensive wellness program in 2003 and have seen encouraging results."
According to a study by the Michigan Fitness Foundation in 2002, problems caused by physical inactivity resulted in workers losing, on average, 20 days of work to absence, short-term disability, or limited functioning each year. These hours of lost productivity are significant in the professional services industry, especially for a law firm such as Miller Canfield. Combined with medical care and workers’ compensation costs, Michigan firms pay a total $8.9 billion in direct and indirect costs – money that could have been invested by companies to create new, competitive products or additional jobs in Michigan.
A health promotion program can control costs by focusing on three basic areas: prevention, early detection, and careful implementation and management. Miller Canfield suggests the following when building a program.
Implementation & Management
As part of its health program called MCFit, Miller Canfield offers participating employees a credit on the cost of health care; free, convenient health screenings at its offices during work hours; a $100 yearly reimbursement for health club memberships and the cost of new exercise equipment; weight loss and stop smoking programs; free in-network or reduced cost out-of-network annual physicals; and exercise points for exclusive Miller Canfield clothing and gifts. Today, over 80 percent of the firm’s employees participate, and the firm has seen overall reductions in each of the five risk categories – poor fitness, obesity, blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and smoking – by an average of 30%.
The 340-attorney law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. was established in Detroit in 1852 and has offices in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Howell, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Monroe, and Troy, Michigan. Other offices are located in New York City, Pensacola, Florida, Washington, D.C., Windsor, Ontario, and in Gdynia, Katowice, and Warsaw, Poland.