Creating a supportive workplace for cancer survivors

December 2, 2020

The Northeast Business Group on Health, based in the Financial District, today unveiled a new guide designed to help human resources and benefits leaders better understand the complex issues associated with cancer survivorship.

The guide details six areas that employers can focus on to create a workplace supportive of people living with cancer: physical health, mental and social health, wellness and healthy lifestyle, family and friends, finances, and work.

Its release comes as cancer is on the rise among millennials, who make up the largest generation in the nation's workforce, and the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. is increasing steadily, the business group noted. It's estimated that by 2040, the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will reach 26.1 million, a more than 50% increase compared to 2019.

Some of the recommendations include providing comprehensive mental health coverage and an employee assistance program for short-term counseling and other services. Other recommendations focus on providing support and resources to employees who may be serving as caregivers to family members or friends who are cancer survivors as well as to the co-workers of cancer survivors.

Better understanding cancer survivorship also benefits a company's productivity and finances, said Candice Sherman, CEO of the business group. That can include a decrease in turnover costs, which can be high, the group noted. It also can be costly to lose expertise if employees who are survivors depart.

Cancer survivors also generally have higher annual medical costs than their colleagues because of ongoing monitoring and the long-term effects of the disease, the business group noted. However, supporting survivors' work and well-being increases the value of those health care expenditures.

"Employers are going to be having greater numbers of survivors in their workforce in the years to come," Sherman said. "It's important to understand what the issues are in terms of survivorship." —J.H.

Cancer Survivorship: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers (PDF)

December 2, 2020

48 pages. "[A] cancer diagnosis and treatment together comprise just one part of the patient journey. What happens when people move beyond active treatment to survivorship? ... [This guide] is designed to provide you with information on the challenges and opportunities associated with cancer survivorship and practical guidance on creating a workplace that supports people living with cancer and is productive for all." 

How Employers Can Support Employee Cancer Survivorship

December 2, 2020

Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) released a new guide for employers on cancer survivorship Wednesday morning.

The free guide was created in collaboration with CancerCare to offer employers' HR departments "practical guidance on creating a workplace that supports people living with cancer and is productive for all."

The guide covers challenges that cancer survivors may face and how employers can support them. It also includes information on support organizations, employment laws and agencies, and recommendation checklists for employers.

Reforming Oncology Care Payments: Interviews From the QCCA Leadership Summit

November 10, 2020

payment reform. Research by the Northeast Business Group on Health found that in 2015, employers spent $125 million on cancer care, and since then, cancer therapy costs have increased substantially with greater use of immunotherapy and the introduction of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies that can easily cost half a million dollars for treatment.

The federal government is taking the lead with the Oncology Care Model, which will transition into Oncology Care First in 2022 after a 1-year extension due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, but commercial payers are also testing payment reform models.

Tips for employers on how to aid workers who care for loved ones

November 1, 2020

Did you know that nearly 17% of your employees may be caregivers? According to an AARP and the Northeast Business Group on Health, in the U.S. today, one in six employees is a caregiver for a relative or friend and spends, on average, 20 hours a week caring for a loved one. And it's safe to say (given demographic trends) that the number of employees acting as caregivers will only grow.

Fidelity Investments creates program to support women and caregivers

October 28, 2020

About 20% of companies offered paid caregiver leave last year, according to data from WorldatWork, a nonprofit HR resource organization. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, employers were increasingly recognizing that they need to provide caregiver benefits. A Northeast Business Group on Health survey of employers found that 79% of respondents said caregiving will be an increasingly important issue over the next five years.

High-Value Care, Workplace Flexibility Aid Employees with Cancer

October 26, 2020

Leading-edge employers are using best practices to support employees with cancer. By doing so, these organizations are serving as role models that others may want to follow.

Many of these best practices are described in a guide from Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), an employer-led coalition. Delivering Value in Cancer Care: The Employer Perspective features case studies and examples of employer initiatives to support employees and family members with cancer. It also gives advice on how HR leaders can engage with vendors and health plans to make employees aware of the cancer-related benefits and services available to them, such as:

  • Screenings for early detection.
  • Second and expert medical opinion services.
  • Care-navigation tools and services.
  • High-quality networks of providers.
  • Centers of excellence (COEs) specializing in cancer care.
  • Behavioral health counseling.
  • Palliative and supportive care.

New employer guide looks to help firms battle worker obesity

September 24, 2020

The Northeast Business Group on Health has issued a new guide designed to help human resources and benefits leaders address the weight and obesity issues facing millions of employees.

The guide comes as Covid-19 disrupts many traditional on-site workplace weight-management and wellness programs. Obesity increasingly affects U.S. adults and is also costly to employers, the group noted. Nearly half of all U.S. adults are projected to be classified as obese by 2030, according to some estimates. And, taking into account medical costs as well as lost productivity, disability and workers' compensation, and absenteeism, obesity costs U.S. employers more than $73 billion annually.

Using Technology To Support Employee Mental Health

September 23, 2020

Technology provides unique opportunities to support the mental health of your workplace in a scalable, cost-effective way. If you’re interested in learning more about how digital mental health tools can support your employees, see our Employer’s Guide to Digital Tools and Solutions for Mental Health, jointly developed by One Mind PsyberGuide and the Northeast Business Group on Health. The guide contains in-depth reviews of 27 different platforms for workplace mental health to allow employers to compare platforms and start to decide the best fit to meet employee needs.

New guide looks to help firms battle employee obesity

September 23, 2020

The Northeast Business Group on Health has issued a new guide designed to help human resources and benefits leaders address the weight and obesity issues facing millions of employees.

The guide comes as Covid-19 disrupts many traditional on-site workplace weight-management and wellness programs. Obesity increasingly affects U.S. adults and is also costly to employers, the group noted. Nearly half of all U.S. adults are projected to be classified as obese by 2030, according to some estimates. And, taking into account medical costs as well as lost productivity, absenteeism and disability and workers' compensation, obesity costs U.S. employers more than $73 billion annually.

Because millions of employees are now working from home, an important part of the plan is remote intervention focused on healthy eating and physical activity, according to the group. That can include offering virtual healthy cooking demonstrations, promoting access to healthy meal and delivery services, offering virtual fitness classes and digital tools to promote physical activity, and offering mobile apps for managing stress.

The guide includes a list of digital weight-management tools available to employers as well as weight-management resources for employees. It also details case studies of four major employers' successful weight-management programs that relied on incentives, digital tools and virtual and on-site meetings to promote healthy weight behaviors among their employees.

"When we talk to employers, weight issues in general, including obesity, are always in the top five concerns around their workforce," said Candice Sherman, CEO of the business group.

The pandemic has only intensified that concern, Sherman said. New stressors, gym shutdowns and working from home have made managing weight more difficult for some people. And obesity has emerged as a significant risk factor for severe complications from Covid-19. —J.H.