As an employer, you understand that the health of your workers is crucial to their ability to contribute. If your employees get injured or contract an infectious disease, they need to spend time recovering away from work, which decreases productivity and, in certain cases, drives up health costs. This underscores the importance of working with human resource consulting firms to make sure your employees have access to the most comprehensive health benefits and wellness programs.

Chronic diseases are a major expense because they have no cure and need continuous treatment to control symptoms. When it comes to conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the main issue is preventing exacerbations of the illness, which increase the risk of expensive hospitalization, according to an article published in HR Professionals Magazine.

What is the burden of COPD?
According to the news source, 24 million individuals in the U.S. are living with COPD, and nearly 70 percent of this population is younger than 65. People who have this condition deal with severe coughing, breathlessness and feelings of tightness in the chest.

The American Lung Association describes COPD as the third-leading cause of death in the country. Smoking is the main risk factor for this disease, but it may also be caused by secondhand smoke, air pollution, and occupational exposure to certain dusts and chemicals. The ALA also reported that 51 percent of COPD patients are limited in their ability to work by their disease.

According to the article in HR Professionals Magazine, the health care expenditures of COPD patients are three times higher than those of employees who don’t have COPD. The condition is responsible for as much disability as stroke, yet it can be misdiagnosed as asthma or some other medical condition. This makes engagement of employees with COPD pivotal.

Education is key
Because many COPD patients are still of working age, employers need to educate both themselves and their workers about several aspects of the disease, including its causes, the tell-tale symptoms, the nature of COPD flare-ups, how to prevent exacerbations with treatment and other factors. Your company could incentivize maximum engagement by promoting lower cost premium sharing and lower out-of-pocket costs. PEO services firms can help you decide what works best.

Prevention is, of course, the most cost-effective way of dealing with COPD. To that end, your company can make tobacco cessation programs a part of your wellness initiative.