PUBLISHED: 3:35 PM on Wednesday, May 23, 2007
SEARHC to host 'Working Well on P.O.W.' training
CRAIG - One of the fastest growing expenses for Alaska businesses is health care and health insurance, and there's no end in sight to the rising costs.

Alaskans spent $5.3 billion for health care in 2005, nearly three times the $1.6 million paid in 1991, according to the University of Alaska Anchorage's Institute for Social and Economic Research. The per-person spending for health care was $7,970 in 2005. Over 80 percent of the $5.3 billion health-care bill was paid for by employers or government programs.

The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and the Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program will hold "Working Well on P.O.W." from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, June 22, at the Craig Community Association Building, 1330 Klawock-Craig Highway. The "Working Well on P.O.W." training program is modeled after the Well Workplace University training that took place in Sitka and Juneau last September. There is a $20 charge per organization attending, but scholarships are available.

"I attended the Well Workplace University in Sitka last fall," said Cindy Gamble, clinic administrator for the SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. "I was so impressed by everything I learned about making the worksite more enjoyable and the job more satisfying that I really wanted to offer that experience here on Prince of Wales. I am grateful that the Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program is able to sponsor 'Working Well on P.O.W.' here. I hope that Prince of Wales employers and employees will take advantage of this great training."

By investing as little as $10 to $500 per worker each year in an employee wellness program, businesses can save as much as seven times the amount spent in better worker productivity, lowered health-care costs and reduced workplace absenteeism. Participants will learn how to craft an effective employee wellness plan, create a supportive environment for wellness and learn how to evaluate the results.

"Almost every business person who has seen the data agrees that employee wellness programs are a good thing," said Doug Osborne, a SEARHC Health Educator who will lead the employee wellness training. "The challenge for many is how to implement a program that delivers results. This training is going to share a proven model that will explain in concrete terms what needs to be done and how to do it."

For more information, contact Craig-based SEARHC Community Wellness Advocate June May at 755-4959 or SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne in Sitka at 966-8734.