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News Release

Media Contact: Tom Grant
tgrant@adventisthealthcare.com
301-315-3356

Published on December 27, 2005

Press Release

Workplace Health and Wellness:  Good for Employees and the Bottom Line

New Award Recognizes Healthy Businesses in Maryland

Rockville, MD – Creating a healthy workplace not only helps maintain employees and recruit new employees, it may now help companies win an award. The "Health and Wellness Trailblazer Award" was announced today by the Maryland Work~Life Alliance, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Adventist HealthCare, Benefit Partners and My Eye Doctor. The new award will be presented to Maryland businesses that have created a work environment that supports health and wellness.

"Research has shown that keeping employees healthy is good for employees and good for business," explains Richard Parsons, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. "We are pleased to recognize businesses in Maryland who are ‘blazing trails’ when it comes to keeping their employees healthy."

According to a study by the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan, workplace wellness programs save employers $80 to $225 per employee each year in medical care costs and an equal amount in productivity gains. At the same time, unhealthy employees tend to hurt businesses financially. A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that more than half of the expenditures created by sick employees can be attributed directly to their unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, inactivity and obesity, which alone costs U.S. businesses $13 billion annually.

"Creating programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle is beneficial to employers as well as employees," notes Judy Lichty, Regional Director of Health and Wellness for Adventist HealthCare. "Little steps that companies take, such as providing discounted memberships to gyms or offering subsidized flu shots can go a long way and, in the end, may save money."

The Health and Wellness Trailblazer award will be awarded to businesses that have established health and wellness programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle for employees. Criteria for the award will include components ranging from management commitment, return on investment measures and paid time-off for health initiatives to specific programs such as on-site fitness centers, recreational sports teams sponsored by the organization, Employee Assistance Programs, on-site health screenings, smoking cessation initiatives, ergonomic workstation evaluations, flexible benefits plans, on-site massage therapy and insurance coverage for infertility.

"We know that there are businesses out there that are working to help their employees live healthy lifestyles both at work and at home," notes Lindsay Conn, Executive Director, Maryland Work~Life Alliance. "These businesses now have an opportunity to be recognized for their efforts in employee health and wellness. We look forward to celebrating these businesses and their employees’ health."

Businesses that have a presence in the State of Maryland are invited to apply for the Health and Wellness Trailblazer Award. The deadline for submissions is December 30, 2005. Applications and additional information are available online at www.wellnesstrailblazer.com. The Trailblazer Award winners will be announced on Friday, April 28 from 11:30 - 2:00 p.m. at the Workplace Excellence award ceremony at the Bethesda North Marriott Convention Center.

The Maryland Work~Life Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization funded by Montgomery County, Maryland and corporate sponsors. The mission of the Alliance is to position workplace excellence as a competitive advantage in the public, private and nonprofit business community by building and recognizing ‘Excellent Places to Work’. Some of the many support services offered by the Alliance to employers include annual symposiums, educational workshops and workplace audits, ‘Mentoring for Excellence’ programs, as well as the ‘Workplace Excellence’ Seal of Approval Award. To learn more about the Maryland Work~Life Alliance, its services and award-winning employers visit www.worklifealliance.org .

As the Voice of Montgomery County Business, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is seen as the preeminent business organization in the County and a major force for positive change in the community. The Chamber provides valuable County-wide educational, marketing and networking opportunities; timely research, information, programs and events; and other quality services to help its members grow their businesses, connect to new opportunities and engage more fully in the community. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is also committed to helping local business leaders make a difference in improving the local business climate and the quality of life for our citizens through effective legislative, public policy and political action. For more information, visit www.montgomerycountychamber.com .

Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery organization based in Rockville, Maryland, that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland. The mission of Adventist HealthCare is to delivery excellent healthcare through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing. Adventist Healthcare includes Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Washington Adventist Hospital, Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health System, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, Adventist Senior Living Services, Greater Washington Sleep Disorders Centers, Adventist Health Careers Training Center, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Adventist Home Health and LifeWork Strategies. For more information, visit www.adventisthealthcare.com .

LifeWork Strategies believes in helping individuals find the right balance between work and family life. We offer a unique blend of EAP, Work/Life, and Workplace Wellness services to companies of all sizes and industries. Our programs are a trusted, easy-to-use resource that helps employees manage the challenges of daily living. This employer-sponsored benefit increases employee productivity and engagement. For more information, visit www.youradvocate.com .

Benefit Partners-Alliant, Inc., a full service benefits brokerage firm based in Rockville, Maryland, focuses on a team oriented consulting approach in developing a cost effective, comprehensive benefits package specifically designed to the needs of each client. Our goal is to create a competitive advantage for our clients through the connection of an efficient benefits program as it relates to the overall business strategy. Benefit Partners enables you to focus on what truly matters - your employees and the ultimate success and growth of your company. For more information, visit www.alliantresourcesgroup.com .

My Eye Dr. brings you a “Total Vision Care Concept” providing not only eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses, but also specializing in the treatment of eye diseases, as well as offering pre and post-op Lasik services. My Eye Dr. is a regional company with offices located throughout the DC Metropolitan area. All offices have a Doctor of Optometry on the premises that are licensed to examine your eyes using state-of-art technology. My Eye Dr. accepts all vision and insurance plans. They are also the Vision Insurance Experts, allowing customers to maximize their insurance benefits. By having the doctor incorporated into our office, all of your vision needs can be addressed in our office; it allows our team of professionals to provide the highest level of service. For more information, visit www.myeyedr.com .

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