The CMS study posits that one of the two major factors driving this trend is increasing utilization. We are using more and more services. (The other major factor being what they call medical inflation–inflation of medicine over and above the overall rate of inflation).
This issue of over-utilization is a big one, and I have written about it before. At the end of 2015, our company experienced a large increase in our health insurance costs. Our insurers told us that our population had a higher than average utilization, which increased our costs.
At that time, we had a nascent wellness program, but this cost increase inspired us to do better (which aligns with our culture, as an employee-owned benefit corporation). We have continued to focus on becoming a culture of wellness, but it is not easy, and the returns are not direct.
One thing we are doing this year, and it is quite fun, is participating in a challenge sponsored by the American Public Health Association. I am increasingly convinced that Public Health is overwhelming important and probably a bigger lever for helping to make us a healthier, less chronically costly country.
The APHA challenge, that is going on right now, is the Billion step challenge. APHA is trying to make us the healthiest nation in one generation. This challenge gets us all up and walking and brilliantly combines competition with alignment around something special–to take one billion steps.
So, Mazzetti has a team of walkers. We are not setting the world on fire, but that’s not the point. We are walking to make ourselves healthier, our company healthier, our communities healthier, our world healthier.
I invite you to join us. Joining is easy, and it requires no equipment – you can even just enter a number manually. The prize isn’t who gets the most steps; the prize is a healthier community, country, culture. It represents what we can do when we come together and do something because it will help us all. No need to tear each other down, no need to build walls. Let’s just walk.
Discover more here: http://www.nphw.org/get-involved/steps-challenge