City wants to save money by making workplace healthier

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 17, 2012

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is considering implementing a program that could help its employees lead healthier lives and save the city money.

Community Development Director James Johnston presented Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Healthy Workplace program to the Natchez Board of Aldermen during its finance meeting Tuesday.

The program, Johnston said, includes initiatives to go smoke-free on city property, a healthy eating challenge and others.

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The program would cost the city approximately $15 per employee, approximately $4,000 a year.

Participating in the program, Johnston said, will result in lower health care costs for the city, fewer sick days taken by employees and a reduction in worker’s compensation costs.

Natchez Regional Medical Center offers a similar program, Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith said. She said she would check into the hospital partnering with the city on the program.

Brown said a healthy workplace program could help city employees get in better health and teach them about preventing illness.

“The most valuable resource we have as city government is the people that do the work,” he said. “The healthier they are, the less time lost and the higher their productivity.”

Brown estimated a healthy workplace program could save the city approximately $180,000 in health care costs for its employees.

“It’s a selfish thing on the part of the city, but at the same time we are providing added benefits to the employees,” he said.