Mayor Emanuel was joined Friday by Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez to announce that for the first time the City of Chicago will offer a comprehensive wellness program to employees and their families. The program, developed jointly by labor unions and city officials, will offer free wellness services, check-ups, and counseling for city workers and will save taxpayers at least $20 million during the first year of implementation.
“With this partnership, we are able to save millions for Chicago’s taxpayers and improve the lives of City workers,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This innovative program is only possible with the partnership of our partners in labor unions. It will help our workers and their families live healthier lives while greatly reducing the amount spent on health insurance for city workers.”
Wellness is one of the first issues discussed between Mayor Emanuel’s Administration and labor union leaders. The program was developed in a series of meetings over the last few months, and is designed to keep healthy employees healthy, discover and address critical health needs in others, and help City employees manage their chronic conditions.
“I am pleased to have worked with the Mayor to craft a program that works for Chicago employees and the people of the city,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “The health and wellbeing of our members and their families is essential to the city’s success in the future, and we are committed to working with the Mayor to implement this program swiftly and effectively.”
Employees and eligible spouses will be able to opt into the program for no cost. They will receive an annual health screening, follow-up phone calls from a medical provider, and free instruction on key areas of concern or focus. Employees who choose not to participate in the program will pay an extra $50 per month in health care premiums; these fees will fund the program. At all times, the privacy of the employees and their families will be respected.
The health screenings will look for areas of immediate concern, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes and will help develop a course of action that is appropriate for the patient. The program will also include optional programs for children, including instruction on common afflictions such as asthma.
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