Preventing serious illness among your workforce is not only a blessing to your employees, but it can also help reduce your company’s operating costs. By preventing illness or detecting diseases early, companies spend less on health insurance, absenteeism due to illness or doctor’s visits, job recruitment and job training. In other words, for everyone concerned, prevention or early diagnosis of disease is a good, cost-effective business strategy.
Breast cancer screening through mammography is a good example of this concept. According to J. C., M.D., medical director of OccNet, the occupational health service of the Health Alliance, “one in eight women in the U.S. will be affected by breast cancer.” When breast cancer is detected in the localized stage without any spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent. The American Cancer Society recommends that mammography screening be done annually for all women 40 years of age and older, in order to detect cancer at this curable stage.
When mammography is made accessible and at little or no cost to the patient, more women will take advantage of this test, more cancers will be detected and more tumors will be diagnosed at an early stage, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR). Workplace mammography screening helps accomplish this. “An employer has the opportunity to participate in saving lives and improving the health of its female workforce. Mammography on the worksite also gives working women the chance to actively take charge of their health at a time and place that is convenient,” stated Dr. C.
Mammography screening inside a large corporation attracts large numbers of women who are highly satisfied with the service, according to the ACR. For instance, during a 22-month period, some 4,200 screening mammograms were performed at Eli Lilly Company headquarters, and 99 percent of participants said they were very pleased with the experience and would participate in the program in the future.
The company also benefited financially, the researchers from Indiana University pointed out. Normally, the company insurance policy would cover the price of screening mammography, but employees could undergo testing at the imaging centers of their choice and the charges would vary. With the workplace screening project, mammograms were offered at no cost to the employee at a convenient location and the radiology practice billed the company at a reduced rate. The project proved to be a cost-savings for the company and convenient for the employees. It also detected 18 cancers, 16 at the most curable stages. “This workplace initiative just may save someone’s life,” said Dr. C.
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