Health Links helps businesses get healthy | VailDaily.com

Health Links helps businesses get healthy

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

EAGLE COUNTY — The Health and Wellness Industry is a key economic driver in Region 12 in the state of Colorado, which includes Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Pitkin and Summit counties. As such, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments has created a public-private partnership in the health and wellness industry, with a goal of strengthening that industry in the region. Over the course of conversations during the past 18 months, the partnership has identified the support of worksite wellness programs as a key strategy to encourage growth for health and wellness businesses, reduce health care costs and foster an environment for healthy employees, which in turn are more productive employees. All of this positivity affects our region’s economy. In order to carry out the strategies for health and wellness, Health Links and the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments have joined forces.

SMALL BUSINESSES

Starting last month, Health Links expanded funding opportunities for small businesses located in Region 12 of Colorado, including Eagle, Grand, Pitkin and Summit counties. Small businesses in these counties with less than 50 employees are eligible to apply for seed funding and free advising to assist in assessing and designing healthy workplaces. Health Links is providing a total of $110,000 on a first-come first-served basis to support the effort of promoting health and well being across Colorado.

‘WELLNESS AT WORK’

“NWCCOG Health and Wellness Partnership with Health Links is perfect,” said Rachel Lunney, director of economic development for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. “Our goals are very aligned: Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees affect your bottom line. By bringing wellness to work, businesses play a key role in providing a healthy and safe environment that has an impact on the overall well being of their employees. Wellness at work is not just good business, it’s good business strategy.”

Health Links has three major components aimed at promoting healthy workplaces: Advising, certification and connecting businesses to local resources and providers. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees in Region 12 are eligible to receive $250-$1,000 in seed funding. Health Links helps kick-start workplace wellness initiatives and helps organizations meet the criteria to become a Certified Healthy Business.

KICK-START FUNDING

Health Links is focused on certifying over 62 businesses in Region 12, and kick-start funding and advising is the first step for many businesses. Once a business is approved, a Health Links adviser, free of cost, will help you develop an action plan for designing an effective and sustainable worksite wellness program. Advisors are trained to provide tailored feedback that best fits an organization’s style and needs.

Businesses that already have a wellness and safety program are eligible to apply for Healthy Business Certification, which will recognize them in the state and their community as a champion of wellness, as well as grant them access to the Healthy Business Network. This network allows businesses to engage with each other, receive the latest information on worksite wellness in Colorado and access vendors who prioritize employee health and safety.

Health Links is a nonprofit initiative from the Center for Worker Health and Environment, within the Colorado School of Public Health, a collaboration of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. Health Links is made possible through a start-up grant from Pinnacol Assurance and funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Hollis Family Trust. For more information, visit http://www.healthlinkscolorado.org or contact Michelle Haan, program manager, at Michelle.haan@healthlinkscolorado.org.