Independent Health Hosts Community Health Expert as part of "Conversations for a Healthier Tomorrow"
A recent report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the January 2013 issue of Health Affairs suggests some stability in the growth of national health care expenditures. Although progress is being made to dampen the rising medical trend, costs still continue to increase at an unsustainable rate.
One of the greatest opportunities to find new and innovative ways of controlling spending and addressing the growth of health care costs is to improve the population's health by creating a culture of health in communities across America, including here in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Because this country's health care crisis was caused by a collection of reasons, its solution requires collective action, strong partnerships, community engagement and innovative solutions.
At Independent Health, we are committed to addressing the illness burden our community brings upon itself as a result of unhealthy behaviors. We are working to accomplish this by providing individuals with the programs, services and resources to make better, more informed health choices, engaging employers to make access to health services more convenient for their employees, and sponsoring a number of community-wide initiatives to improve the health and vitality of the community.
To advance this effort, Independent Health recently hosted the second in an ongoing series of programs we call "Conversations for a Healthier Tomorrow." Business leaders and community influencers gathered on February 13 to hear Bill Purcell, one of the country's foremost experts on leading collaborative efforts in support of developing fit lifestyles and flourishing communities, discuss "Healthy Community, Wealthy Community: Tipping the Scales in Western New York's Favor."
Purcell most recently served as vice chair of the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in Washington, D.C. The committee's May 2012 report, "Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation," identifies more than 800 ways communities can work together to accelerate obesity prevention.
As Purcell underscored during his presentation, the most sustainable solutions to controlling runaway spending and improving the health of our nation start at the local level. Employers can play a critical role in creating a culture of health, and implementing healthier habits among your workforce may be easier than you think. Start by implementing one healthy change in your office - offer healthy food options in your vending machines or reward employees who go for a walk on their lunch break. Small changes will eventually add up to creating a comprehensive culture of health in our community, and every employer can be a part of it.