Healthy Workforce Act Would Pave Way To Build Healthier Workforce

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Healthy Workforce Act

New proposed legislation that would give tax incentives for businesses to implement workplace health management programs would benefit workers, lower health care costs and promote a workplace culture of health.

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"Many large employers already know that a workplace health management program makes bottom line sense by reducing health care costs and improving employee productivity," said Gregg Lehman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Health Fitness Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: HFIT). Health Fitness Corporation is a leading provider of employee health management programs. Managing more than 400 fitness centers globally, they also offer a suite of health management services on-site, Web-based and telephonically.

"The Healthy Workforce Act would open the door for mid-size and smaller employers to take advantage of these programs, and pave the way for a 21st Century Benefit Plan allowing even more of America's workers to access work- based programs that help them assess their personal health risks, access education and behavior change programs that reduce risks, and take steps to lead healthier lives," Lehman said.

Co-sponsors Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) introduced the bill that would provide a tax credit of up to $200 per employee for the first 200 employees, and up to $100 per employee thereafter, to businesses that offer comprehensive wellness programs. The bill requires the programs to include components such as health awareness programs and health risk assessments, behavior change programs, meaningful incentives for program participation and an employee committee that tailors programs to meet workforce needs. An employer can receive the tax credit for 10 years after establishing new qualified wellness programs.

"This is the next important step for employers, who have supported workers through health insurance for decades," said Jerry V. Noyce, vice chairman of the board of Health Fitness Corporation and a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. "Adoption of work-based health management programs reduces the risk for chronic illness and enhances the quality of life for American workers. This legislation can be an impetus for more employers to adopt these proven programs."

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