Businesses lose billions of dollars each year to employee illnesses, chronic diseases, work-related injuries, absenteeism and presenteeism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To address this need for wellness in the workplace, Pardee UNC Healthcare started Pardee@Work in 2015. Led by medical director W. Ronald Moffitt, M.D., and Elizabeth “Scottie” Taylor, FNP-C, a family nurse practitioner who oversees Pardee’s employee clinic, Pardee@Work helps businesses invest in the health and well-being of their employees.
Pardee believes work and wellness go hand in hand.
“Most people spend nearly a third of their lives at work, so it makes sense to address wellness in the workplace,” said Dr. Moffitt. “Businesses can help their team members and their bottom line by offering customized health and wellness programs, such as disease prevention workshops, occupational health services, nutrition counseling, health coaching and fitness coaching.”
Taking health care outside the hospital and doctor’s office
Pardee@Work is not an off-the-shelf program, but rather a partnership with each employer that creates customized health and wellness programs to meet the needs of their employee population. Workers benefit from high-quality care that returns them to work quickly and employers benefit from a more productive workforce.
“The program’s ultimate goal is to help area businesses lower their health care costs and have healthier employees,” said Dr. Moffitt. “We have helped companies uncover employees with chronic diseases and have worked with them to reverse or reduce symptoms of their diseases. By implementing healthy lifestyle programs, we have seen people no longer need medication for chronic conditions.”
Pardee@Work services include onsite health clinics, occupational health services, workers’ compensation care, wellness classes, individual health and nutrition coaching, fitness coaching, pre-employment physicals, vaccinations, drug screenings and more.
Health care in the workplace
“Pardee@Work onsite clinics have been especially helpful to our business clients,” said Dr. Moffitt. “We staff these clinics with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who is able to see employees at their workplace.”
For example, if an individual has a sore throat, they can go to their company’s onsite clinic rather than take time off work to go to their doctor’s office. The clinic’s provider can run a strep test and write a prescription if necessary. The provider may also recommend they go home so they don’t spread the illness to other workers. This helps the employee get the treatment they need right away, avoid spreading the illness and come back to work faster, improving productivity.
The benefits for employees and their families
“Another impactful result of our Pardee@Work programs is seeing how helping an employee with his or her wellness impacts the employee’s family,” he said. “We have seen many individuals start to live a healthier lifestyle and take it home with them. Our program affects not only businesses, but also entire families in a positive way.”
Dr. Moffitt shares a recent example:
“One woman who participated in Pardee@Work programs stopped eating fast food, lost weight and completely turned her health around,” he said. “One night, she was with her children and they were in a rush to go somewhere, so, out of desperation, she started to pull into a fast food restaurant to get dinner. Her children said, ‘No, Mom. We don’t eat that stuff anymore.’ This is just one positive example of how when you teach someone about health and wellness, it can spread beyond them.”
He adds, “From a business perspective, many companies are insuring not just their employees, but the whole family. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Health: An investment that pays off
An investment in wellness benefits both businesses and employees. Investing in employee health can help employers attract and retain top talent, improve workplace safety and reduce employee sick days.
“At the end of the day, our mission is to take care of people,” said Dr. Moffitt. “Pardee@Work has a human touch and feel. We are taking health care outside our four walls and bringing it directly to businesses in the area.”
He adds, “I have seen firsthand how much employee wellness can benefit businesses. We have had many leaders tell us that Pardee@Work positively changed their company culture.”