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Senate Bill 73 signed by Governor Walker

by Jason H. on Thursday, March 20, 2014

The American Heart Association thanks Governor Scott Walker for signing Senate Bill 73, which will create a grant program to assist in creating workplace wellness programs in Wisconsin for small businesses. SB 73 passed with unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats.

As health care costs continue to skyrocket, employers are considering innovative strategies to reduce their costs. Many employers offer comprehensive worksite wellness programs that have excellent return on investment and improve employee health and productivity. The American Heart Association is a long-time supporter of these programs and wholeheartedly endorses their implementation of creating a culture of health in an environment where a majority of adults spend a large part of their day.

“Research has shown that workplace wellness programs are an important strategy to prevent major shared risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers,” says Chris Klein, Government Relations Director at the American Heart Association. “An estimated 25-30 percent of a company’s medical costs are spent on employees with these risk factors. In addition, successful wellness programs extend their influence beyond workers to their immediate family members.”

Most risk factors for heart disease and stroke—specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity—are preventable and controllable. Controlling these risk factors could reduce risk of heart attack or stroke by more than 80 percent.

The AHA says worksite wellness programs can reduce these risk factors and ultimately decrease the physical and economic burden of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain cancers. The societal benefits of a healthy employed population extend beyond the workplace.

Klein commended lawmakers for their united action on this legislation, “We are very thankful for the support from Governor Walker and the support received in the Assembly and Senate and commend the authors, Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin), for their dedication and leadership on this issue.”

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