June is National Employee Wellness Month, Folks. Did you know?
It's a campaign created a few years ago by none other than Virgin HealthMiles, a leading provider of employee health programs (go figure). And this year's initiative is co-sponsored by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. Why do we smell diabetes all over that?
A lot of the focus here is on prevention, as in offering employees rewards for "healthy behaviors" that will cut their risks of things like type 2 diabetes. Can't argue with that, I guess.
But we're wondering how well our post-diagnosis PWD compatriots are feeling with their diabetes in their place of work.
Do you feel supported?
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Restricted or hampered in any way?
Do people around you even know you have diabetes? What about your boss?
And then there's the Big Benefits Question: Is anybody out there actually engaged in a Diabetes Management Program like this one from Wellness Works that's offered by your employer?
That plan makes no differentiation between type 1 and type 2, and if you fulfill nine program requirements (from A1C to annual dental exams) you receive "appropriate diabetic supplies and diabetic medications" at no cost for a year (and it can be renewed by "re-certifying the program requirements" annually). That doesn't sound like a bad deal at all!
But we know that not everyone is so lucky to fall into benefits like that.
In fact, the real goal of many "employee wellness programs" is to save the employer money on healthcare costs — even by actions as blatantly un-wellness-friendly as "requiring prior authorization for services like MRIs, limiting the number of physical or occupational therapy sessions a person could have, and limiting orthotics to people with certain diseases, like diabetes." How does hitting hardest at the people who need help the most promote "employee wellness," we'd like to know?
Anyway, we'd love to hear your workplace stories, good or bad.
And in case you have questions about your rights with diabetes on the job (relative to the Americans with Disabilities Act), see this great Q&A from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Good stuff.