News Briefs

Wellness programs more prevalent

In most cases, health promotion programs are more prevalent in 1999 than they were in 1992, according to the 1999 National Worksite Health Promotion Survey, conducted by William M. Mercer Inc.; the Association for Worksite Health Promotion; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

The survey found that 90% of all work sites offer at least one health promotion activity, an increase of 9% from 1992. The availability of health promotion to employees increases substantially if access through health plans is included. Across all types of programs, the inclusion of programs available through health plans increased access by 10% to 40%.

To obtain a copy of the report, contact the Association for Worksite Health Promotion. Telephone: (847) 480-9574. The per-copy cost is $199, and $49 for members.


AOHN helps track health costs

The Atlanta-based American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) has launched a new Web site called the Bottom Line Business Health Check-Up at www.bizhealthcheck. com. It features an on-line assessment tool that lets companies quickly and easily assess their health care costs while offering solutions for reducing health care expenses.

This tool assesses workers’ compensation claims, employee health care costs, and lost workday cases by comparing them to national averages. It then determines whether the company’s health care costs are below, near, or above the national average for the selected health care expenditure. Next, it provides the user with a recommendation for reducing their company’s health care spending while improving employee health and morale.

"With health care costs increasing nearly 2.5 times faster than any other benefit cost, companies are continuously looking for innovative ways to reduce bottom line spending," says AAOHN president Deborah Vi DiBenedetto, MBA, RN, COHN-S, ABDA. "Since occupational health nurses can play a key role in a company’s financial and employee health, we felt it was important for us to bring this free on-line tool as a service to businesses."

For more information, contact: American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc., Suite 100, Brandywine Road, Atlanta, GA 30341. Telephone: (770) 455-7757. Fax: (770) 455-7271. Web site: www.aaohn.org.


ACSM certification schedule set

The Indianapolis-based American College of Sports Medicine has released its 2000 schedule of workshops and certification examinations nationwide. The announcement coincides with ACSM’s 25th anniversary of providing education and certification programs for sports medicine and health and fitness professionals.

The certifications and workshops include the following:

• Clinical Certification Credentials

— ACSM Exercise Specialist

— ACSM Program Director

• Health & Fitness Certification Credentials

— ACSM Exercise Leader

— ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor

— ACSM Health/Fitness Director

• Certificates of Enhanced Qualification (CEQ)

— Advanced Personal Trainer

— Exercise and the Older Adult

— Nutrition and Exercise

— Resistance Exercise Training

For more information about locations and dates, contact: Cathy Stewart, Director of Certification, ACSM, 401 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202-3233. Telephone: (317) 637-9200.


Aetna rolls out Web-based EZLink

Aetna U.S. Healthcare, based in Blue Bell, PA, is rolling out its new state-of-the-art benefits administration system nationally after successful pilots in several regional markets. EZLink, according to Aetna, is the first fully integrated, Web-based benefits and human resource administration solution for managing benefits eligibility, enrollment, billing, reporting, and employee communications.

"EZLink marks an important milestone on the path toward paperless benefits transactions for the businesses we serve," says Michael J. Cardillo, president of Aetna U.S. Healthcare. He adds that Aetna’s vision of the future "includes an information cybersystem’ that will allow employers, employees, doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies to share personalized information at the click of a mouse."

For more information, contact: Aetna U.S. Healthcare, 980 Jolly Road, Blue Bell, PA 19422. Telephone: (877) 451-6816. Or, visit the Aetna U.S. Healthcare Web site at www.aetnaushc.com, and go to the Employer Online Services section.


Guidelines developed for on-site drug testing

New guidelines under development for on-site drug and alcohol testing may help the tests gain acceptance from government regulatory bodies, says the director of the national organization spearheading the guideline project.

David Evans, executive director of the National On-site Testing Association in Flemington, NJ, says the association has been working with others to create standardized training and certification for on-site testing. The test usually is performed with a test card or stick that dipped in a urine sample, or the sample cup itself contains the testing medium.

The guidelines may make on-site drug and alcohol testing more acceptable to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would in turn make on-site testing an acceptable option for some federally regulated workplace testing. Evans says he hopes to get an unofficial blessing from the HHS that will give the guidelines some weight in the industry.

A draft of the guidelines is expected to be released soon. For more information, contact: National On-site Testing Association, 203 Main St., Suite 103, Flemington, NJ 08822. Telephone: (908) 806-0008.