DK Nepal, December-04, UAE, Deb Raj Kandel

As you review your goals for the new year, include engaging employees in their Florida health care decisions on your list. Educating employees on their part in medical care can lead to increased quality of life and productivity, and decreased sick leave and health care expense. Consider the impact of employee health empowerment in these terms: When an employee chooses to see a primary care provider or visits an urgent care facility instead of taking an unnecessary trip to the emergency room, it can save thousands of dollars in medical expenses. And early detection and prevention bring the priceless benefit of longer, healthier lives.

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One of the most important aspects of living a healthy and prosperous life is understanding “risk.” By this I mean knowing how to understand and analyze situations in life that affect health. Being able to accurately weigh benefits and risks when making health decisions is very important! Too often decisions are based on incomplete or inaccurate information and this is a huge mistake with significant consequences!

Accessing “risk” is nothing more than collecting information, weighing the alternatives and then making appropriate decisions based on the information.

Failure to accurately assess risk keeps people locked in all kinds of unhealthy situations including poor eating and exercise habits (lifestyle), relationships and jobs. Sometimes people are just afraid to step out and make a change. They see “risk” in making a change when the REAL risk comes from NOT making a change. From my perspective, living with the stress, unhappiness and frustration of indecision and poor health is the greatest risk of all, and one that is definitely not worth taking!

Failure to accurately assess risk limits us in many ways. We imagine the “risk” of talking with our children about drugs, dating or sex and we put off having the “talk,” even though the risks of NOT talking are infinitely greater. Fear of flying and public speaking are two more “risks” affecting millions of people. But practically speaking, these fears are unfounded. People ride in cars every day, even though cars are far more dangerous than commercial aircraft! It’s a failure to accurately assess risk, and it limits our health, prosperity and pleasure in life.

Some risks to our health are more “real” than others. For example, it is common knowledge that obesity is associated with a wide variety of health problems. On the other hand, there are some health risks that are so remote we rarely think about them. On a practical level, eating highly processed foods and avoiding a daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables is rarely considered serious. But, as too many have already discovered, the long range consequences of this practice are real and devastating. Use information resources

Health plans work hard to offer quality health care, but employees still play an important part in the process. Excellent employee resources include access to online information, on-site health fairs and case managers who help with serious medical conditions. These trained professionals can help people make educated decisions about seeking treatment. Supplying employees with a book covering basic health problems and distributing health information brochures also educates them. Inviting local doctors, nurses and health insurance representatives to put on presentations can further enhance employees’ access to health knowledge.