How Workplace Wellness Saves Lives

While workplace wellness became popular as a way to cut insurance costs, it’s really about saving lives.

That’s what one employee at Ottawa Dental Laboratory found out. When the woman started working for Ottawa, she signed up for the wellness program, which provides a checkup with the doctor in the first 90 days. She hadn’t bothered getting a checkup for a few years, since she was only 28 and had no signs of any medical problems.

But her next checkup revealed she had early-stage ovarian cancer–something that might not have been caught in time without a corporate wellness program. After surgery and chemotherapy, the woman is back at work and doing fine. “She’s a good example of why we do this,” says Joanie Bretag, senior vice president of human resources at Ottawa Dental. “It’s not about our money.”

Bretag recently joined other HR executives at a roundtable discussion of successful workplace wellness programs. The meeting was attended by finalists for the Illinois’ Healthiest Employers Awards, which were announced last November.

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