Companies face growing challenge of employee drug abuse | EBay emphasizes employee relationships in wellness program | Study: Physically active middle-age men stay active as they age
September 22, 2017
AHIP Wellness SmartBrief
Wellness Programs & Trends
Companies face growing challenge of employee drug abuse
Employee abuse or misuse of opioids and other drugs is an increasing problem for US companies, raising safety risks and health care costs and making it more difficult to hire and retain employees. Some companies require drug testing, create drug abuse policies and pay for employees to go through treatment programs.
Bloomberg (9/20),  The Associated Press (9/21) 
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EBay emphasizes employee relationships in wellness program
EBay focuses on building employee relationships and forming a corporate community, and Global Benefits & Wellness Senior Director Becky Bailey told Employee Benefit Adviser's 2017 Workplace Benefits Summit that starting a wellness program should begin with getting to know the workforce and implementing small changes. Bailey said she promotes wellness as an investment in people instead of focusing on return-on-investment.
Employee Benefit Adviser (9/21) 
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Study: Physically active middle-age men stay active as they age
UK men ages 40 to 59 who were physically active were almost three times more likely to be active 20 years later, according to a study in BMJ Open. Playing sports made it even more likely that men would be physically active as they aged, and the number of men who had high levels of walking increased from 27% to 62% by the end of the study.
HealthDay News (9/21) 
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Health News & Research
Study looks at cost-effective interventions to curb child obesity
Researchers estimated that imposing excise taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks could curb 576,000 child obesity cases and yield savings of $14.2 billion between 2015 and 2025. The findings, presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, also showed that implementation of nutritional standards on children's school food and removal of tax breaks for junk food ads aimed at youths may prevent 345,000 and 129,000 child obesity cases, respectively, and lead to savings of $792 million and $260 million, respectively, during the same period.
Medscape (free registration) (9/21) 
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Researchers examine rates of overtreatment in older diabetes patients
A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that 10.9% of older adults with diabetes were possibly overtreated, many of whom were ages over 75 and enrolled in Medicaid, while 6.9% of older adults were potentially undertreated. Researchers evaluated Medicare claims data from 10 states involving 78,792 patients and also found that 14% of overtreated patients had their regimens deintensified, but deintensification of therapy was less common among those older than 75.
Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (9/21) 
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High, low magnesium levels may increase dementia risk
A study in Neurology linked high and low magnesium in older adults with dementia, with the highest and lowest serum levels increasing the risk of developing the disease by up to 30%. Lead author Dr. Brenda Kieboom said clinicians should consider magnesium tests in patients at risk of hypomagnesemia, which include those on proton-pump inhibitors or diuretics and those whose diet does not contain magnesium-rich foods.
HealthDay News (9/20),  Medscape (free registration) (9/20) 
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Sports specialization tied to adverse health outcomes in teen girls
Adolescent girls who played soccer exclusively had elevated stress levels, increased soreness and fatigue, and poorer mood and sleep despite having similar sleep duration, compared with those who played soccer and other sports, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting. The findings were based on data involving 49 female soccer players ages 13 to 18 in Wisconsin.
HealthDay News (9/19) 
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Schools & Community
Conn. school launches Zero Waste program
Conn. school launches Zero Waste program
Students in a Connecticut school are leaving uneaten food in a new refrigerator in the cafeteria. Under the Zero Waste program, excess food is donated to a food pantry, and students also can access the food after school.
The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.) (9/21) 
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Waco, Texas, parks offering workout options through QR codes
Visitors looking for workout help at some Waco, Texas, parks can access videos on their smartphones via the QR Fit Trail System. Users only need to download a QR reader app to access videos of workout options.
Waco Tribune-Herald (Texas) (9/18) 
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Wellness Industry Developments
Governor Gary Herbert: Medicaid policy priorities in the states
From expanding Medicaid to opting for block grants or flexibility in exchange for capped funding, governors across the country are focused on ways to deliver health care. While there's not across-the-country agreement on approaches, innovative thinking and lessons learned dominate discussions in the states. At AHIP's Medicaid conference this September, The Honorable Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah, will offer perspective on Medicaid moving forward.
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Meet your annual training requirements
Agents and brokers play a vital role in guiding consumers through Federal-facilitated Marketplace enrollment. Meet your annual training requirements and better serve your clients with CMS-approved FFM Training from AHIP. It's reasonably priced and offers 24/7 tech support. Get details at and see if continuing education credits are available in your state. Registration is now open!
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Must-attend webinars. Register today
Oct. 10, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET, "Managing Medicare Advantage Costs Through Better Post-Acute Care" imparts insights on how CareCentrix successfully manages home health and post-acute care. Oct. 11, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET, "BlockChain: The Key to Health Care Trust and Security?" addresses Blockchain application and implication from Accenture subject matter experts.
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