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Published: Friday, 3/16/2007

3 area firms to be picked for wellness program

In an effort to improve both the region's business climate and employee health - and perhaps cut health-care costs - three companies will be selected for a three-year workplace wellness project worth up to $450 an employee, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and its partners announced yesterday.

The chamber members chosen for the project will receive professional help from Harris HealthTrends Inc., of Sylvania Township, and the Lucas County Healthy Communities Foundation to set up a program focused on preventing illness.

Applications will be accepted until April 30 from companies with 25 to 400 employees for the project, called WellBiz.

Those selected will be announced May 17.

"Good health is the key to competitiveness," Ben Brown, vice president of Brooks Insurance Agency and past chamber president, told about 100 people gathered at the Toledo Club for a monthly meeting of the Toledo Area Small Business Association.

Companies chosen for the project must be willing to appoint a coordinator and invest $10 to $50 per employee annually.

That money could be used to fund incentives to help get employees involved in health screenings and other aspects of the program, said Jan Ruga, vice president of the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio.

Overall results of the project will be shared with other chamber members to increase awareness for employee wellness programs, Ms. Ruga said. The council's Lucas County members - University of Toledo Medical Center, Mercy Health Partners, and St. Luke's Hospital - formed the foundation in 1999.



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