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Routine checks can pay off in the long run

A check-up today may keep the hospital at bay.

It’s a common-sense notion that our nation’s health care system shouldn’t have to spend billions of dollars to promote. Yet, too often too many people skimp on routine preventative care.

The result can be long-term, debilitating and costly illness.

The City of Natchez recognizes this fact and already provides, in its employee benefits package, routine screenings and health care for today that could prevent disease tomorrow.

But too few employees are taking advantage of the program, city leaders said recently, and they want to change that.

The aldermen recently discussed giving city workers a day or half a day away from the office to visit a doctor for a physical. The services are already paid for in the city’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy You program.

The potential pros of catching health ailments now — not later — far outweigh what the city would lose in one-half day’s work from each employee. Besides, it’s the right thing to do. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and the city should promote that healthy lifestyle in whatever way possible.

It’s not necessary — or right — to charge the employee one sick day for the physical, though, as was suggested.

Instead, department heads should coordinate the “health care days” to prevent scheduling difficulties and simply provide the time.

If every city worker received preventative care every year, the impact on our government and our community would multiply year after year.