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Company to study effectiveness of its workplace wellness programs

September 17, 2012
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exerciseKohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and the American Heart Association (AHA) are teaming up to conduct a first-of-its-kind research collaboration to study the effectiveness of workplace wellness initiatives offered at KKR and its portfolio companies. The research effort will be based on aggregate data collected from the portfolio companies enrolled in the KKR Wellness Works program.

KKR is a leading global investment firm.

Since its inception, several of KKR’s private equity portfolio companies in the United States have been active participants in developing the KKR Wellness Works Model. Currently, the four participating portfolio companies, which encompass more than 140,000 employees, include First Data Corporation, HCA Holdings, Inc., Sealy Corporation and Visant Corporation. 

Wellness Works provides a best practice model which participating companies follow in developing their individual wellness programs. At a minimum, the companies commit to providing employees with incentives of $250 or more, for completing certain wellness requirements, including completing an annual biometric screening. The results from the screening along with health management resources are provided to the employees to allow them to optimize their screening results. These resources can include access to health coaching, incentives tied to making lifestyle changes and tools for tracking and reducing health risks among others.

Company goal: to support improvements in wellness

George Roberts, co-founder and Co-CEO, said KKR believes healthier employees help create successful companies and the alliance with the American Heart Association will help improve both the nation’s physical and economic health. 

“In terms of the depth and breadth of the initiative, this has the potential to be among the most comprehensive analyses ever conducted on workplace wellness programs,” said Mr. Roberts. “Our goal is to support individuals in improving their wellness thereby building stronger communities and companies. Sharing what we learn will allow other companies to implement more effective workplace wellness programs.”

Most common risk factors can be reduced

The KKR and AHA joint-study will examine the overall impact of wellness programs on employees’ health, as well as the effectiveness of the tools and incentives used at these KKR portfolio companies. Both the American Heart Association and KKR believe that wellness is a critical component to the health of an individual, a company and a community. Currently, employers are responsible for designing and paying for the vast majority of health care for those under 65 years. In fact, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of companies’ annual medical costs are spent on employees with major risk factors for chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The most common risk factors include cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and physical inactivity. Research shows that many of these can be reduced through providing information on wellness and changes in lifestyle.

Employees at the participating portfolio companies will gain access to educational tools and support resources including a “My Life Check” wellness portal to help them improve and maintain their overall health. The tools will supplement existing wellness efforts already underway at participating companies with the goal of providing more resources and a greater impact for employees. 

People who "know their numbers" make better health choices

KKR and the American Heart Association believe that individuals who “know their numbers” are more able to make improved health choices. Through an incentivized wellness program, KKR aims to engage employees, increase participation rates, change employee behaviors and eventually reduce health risks. 

The wellness program operates in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), meaning all testing, results and data remain confidential. For more information about the KKR Wellness Works program and the AHA-KKR research study visit www.kkrwellnessworks.com .

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