May 27, 2015
For Immediate Release
ARTHRITIS CONSUMER EXPERTS IS LOOKING FOR 2015 CANADA'S BEST WORKPLACE FOR EMPLOYEES LIVING WITH ARTHRITIS
Second annual Canada wide search recognizes best arthritis practices in the workplace
(VANCOUVER) — Canadian employers, working with their private health insurers, are increasingly looking for ways to promote patient-focused prevention, treatment and management of arthritis as part of a health and wellness program for employees. To recognize the best arthritis practices and most innovative initiatives to raise arthritis awareness, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) announces the second annual search for Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis.
"ACE is again encouraging employees and employers to nominate their company and describe how their work environment considers the unique needs of employees living with the most common chronic disease in the workplace – arthritis. Based on our experience last year, ACE will be recognizing collaboration between employees, employers and private health insurers to expand arthritis health initiatives in the workplace," says Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, Arthritis Consumer Experts.
Arthritis is the most common health reason why Canadians have to stop working and leave the workforce. This can have profound consequences for employees and their families, financially and in terms of personal well-being. Considering the high prevalence and impact of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and back pain, employers are taking steps to manage their growing number of arthritis medication claims and risks associated with loss in productivity due to absenteeism, presenteeism and disability costs.
Koehn adds: "The diagnosis of arthritis for an employee should not be taken lightly. By recognizing arthritis symptoms and seeking an early, accurate diagnosis, most employees are able to manage their pain, regain control of their lives and continue to perform at a high level in their career. Our message to employers is to look seriously at implementing arthritis screening programs for employees to promote early referral for arthritis, which can lead to early diagnosis and treatment with better employee health outcomes and, in turn, generate savings on drug, absence and disability costs."
ACE's scientific partner, the Arthritis Research Canada (ARC), will again assist in the selection process. According to ARC's Scientific Director, Dr. John Esdaile: "What we've seen over the past five years is that successful Canadian companies are paying more attention to the needs of employees with arthritis, underlining the significant role more than 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis have in the work force and economy. Employers are offering more employee-focused prevention, treatment and management programs because they are realizing the value of a more engaged, healthy and productive workplace."
Arthritis in the workplace
- Close to three in five people (58%) with arthritis are less than 65 years of age.
- The impact of arthritis costs the Canadian economy more than $6.4 billion annually. Lost workdays due to long-term disability account for approximately two-thirds of this total.
- The cost of biologic response modifiers to treat forms of inflammatory arthritis is now one of the fastest growing categories of medications for employer sponsored private plans across Canada.
- Studies by Arthritis Research Canada have found that early treatment with medications can reduce the short and long-term costs associated with arthritis. Quite often, appropriate arthritis medication or treatment can mean the difference between lifelong disability and return to a mostly normal life.
- The ability for employees living with arthritis to have meaningful conversation about their unique health challenges with their healthcare professional – from family physician, pharmacist to occupational- and physio-therapists – is vitally important to address absenteeism and presenteeism focused on medication management.
To identify Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis, Arthritis Consumer Experts, together with its Scientific Partner, Arthritis Research Canada, evaluates submissions from employers or employees from across Canada.
In choosing the finalists, ACE employs an extensive evaluation process, which includes wide-ranging criteria from which to judge and recognize Canadian companies' best arthritis strategies and practices in the workplace. Categorizing companies by size (small, medium and large), ACE analyzes company practices and programs compared to other candidate companies based on criteria such as physical workplace adaptability, flexible hours, employee education, and benefit plans.
The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. EST on July 24, 2015 and winners will be announced during Arthritis Awareness Month in September 2015. To determine if your company is eligible for Canada's Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis program, please visit: jointhealth.org.