NEWS BRIEFS

Johnson foundation issues workers’ comp grants

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Workers’ Compensation Health Initiative has issued eight additional grants totaling almost $2.7 million in its second round of funding. The first round in 1996 saw the awarding of $3 million to ten different projects.

The funded projects include community-based coalitions, a union-based health center, development of national performance measures, enhanced case management for federal workers, and other programs to improve the coordination of the medical care provided under workers’ compensation and general (non-compensation) health plans.

"We anticipate that the evaluation studies conducted under this grant program will provide policymakers with important information about the impact of these approaches on costs, medical outcomes, patient experiences, and quality of care," notes Allard Dembe, ScD, the program’s deputy director.

For more information, contact: Allard E. Dembe, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 55 Lake Ave., North Worcester, MA 01655-0309. Telephone: (508) 856-3576. Fax: (508) 856-5688.


DCC launches lactation program

DCC, a Westport, CT-based work/life service provider, has launched a workplace lactation program called Mothers at Work (M@W). The program will include prenatal education, 24-hour counseling services by DCC’s certified lactation consultants, and lactation devices including breast pumps and pumping accessories. The program is being provided through an alliance with Medela®, the breast pump manufacturer.

"The M@W program is designed to ease the nursing employee’s transition back to work so that employers, working mothers and babies benefit, explains Michelle A. Sagalyn, DCC director of business and product development, noting that such programs reduce medical claims and decrease absenteeism.

For more information, contact: Michelle Sagalyn, DCC, 400 Nyala Farm Road, Wesport, CT 06880. Telephone: (203) 291-3506. Fax: (203) 291-3571. E-mail: msagalyn@dcclifecare.com. Internet: www.dcclifecare.com.


Beware: Retirement benefits shrinking

The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) has bad news for Baby Boomers: employers are cutting back on retirement benefits.

A recent GAO study concludes that many aging boomers will be without this type of health insurance. About half of the larger companies in the United States currently offer retirement benefits, compared to about 70% a decade ago, the report said. The government auditors cited rising health care costs, corporate takeovers, foreign competition and the diminishing influence of unions.

For more information, contact: U.S. Government Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC, 20548. Telephone: (202) 512-3000.