It is better to prevent than cure. However, many do not realize that appropriate profilactic initiatives can directly translate to the economy. Health is a key factor contributing to economic growth. With this in mind, Employers of Poland and the biggest private healthcare provider in Poland – LUX MED, initiated a debate on actions which are necessary for employees’ health to be improved.
– The problem is serious, as it is widely known how much of a challenge the aging of society will be in the coming years – points out Andrzej Malinowski, President of Employers of Poland. – Current problems in this regard are one thing, we should also look to the future. This may be the last moment to act.
Thus far, decision makers do not seem to have noticed that appropriate preventive measures applied to those who are still active on the job market will give them better health in the future. There is a shortage of profilactic programs conducted in cooperation between public institutions and business. There are also no incentives or bonuses for employers’ who care about their employees’ health.
– If we are thinking of a senioral policy, the point is not only for people to live longer, but also for them to live in good health – stresses Anna Rulkiewicz, Chairwoman of LUX MED.
The basis of the debate was the report Health in the workplace – diagnosis and expected changes prepared by LUX MED. The report is based on research conducted in Poland, Great Britain, Spain and Australia among managers and employees. The results show that 40 percent of employers see the positive results of pro-health initiatives – employees are more efficient and are on sick leave less often. As far as the employees are concerned, healthcare provided by companies will be an increasingly important incentive for them. So what are the obstacles to intensifying such actions? The answer provided by the report is clear – 73 percent of companies point to high costs.
– The problem is that the current public procurement regulations, among other factors, mean that we are now currently dealing with a price market. We all know that health profilactics is important, but the question is who will pay for it – remarks Joanna Makowiecka-Gaca, Chairwoman of Polimex-Mostostal.
Prof. Danuta Koradecka, Director of the Central Labor Protection Institute (CIOP) is also convinced that profilactics should be the first step. – Otherwise we will be overwhelmed by costs of healthcare – she stresses. According to her, the solution could be a.o. tying the system of public contributions paid by employers with their activities with regards to preventive health measures for employees.
The role of appropriately profiled occupational medicine is absolutely key. The best illustration of this are the circulatory system diseases, which are an increasingly serious problem in Poland. These diseases – or the potential danger that they may occur – can be detected during routine check-ups. According to prof. Jerzy Adamus, Head of the Cardiology Department at the Ostrobramska Medical Centre, a good financial solution would be to tie the value of healthcare contributions to patients’ healthy habits. However, Viceminister of Health Sławomir Neumann is very clear on this – differentiating the value of the contribution is unlikely. What cannot be ruled out is that some sort of a deduction for employers who invest in their employees’ health.
– Employers need not so much additional deductions, as they simply need a stable system. The Ministry of Health cannot transfer the costs to employers every time it oversteps the budget. If the government does not want to help us, it should at least refrain from creating problems for us. If we are to invest in healthcare policy, we want to be sure that no government official holds that against us in the future – says Andrzej Malinowski.
The discussion initiated at the meeting is to be continued. Viceminister Neumann believes that if recommendations for changes in legislation can be elaborated in this manner, they can be taken into consideration in the next parliamentary term.