Healthy Work Place

State: FL Type: Model Practice Year: 2004

Healthy Work Place provides occupational health care, immunizations, health education, and certifications required for licensure to the private business sector in Lee County. It also provides a mechanism for any business or government agency to access the services of an occupational or public health nurse. Planning for the program began in October 1996. At that developmental stage, one registered nurse was responsible for the entire program. The business community responded very positively, and by the end of 2003, the staff had grown to include a registered nurse, a health educator, and a secretary. In 2004, another registered nurse was added to the program. Currently, Healthy Work Place provides occupational health services for over 190 businesses and more than 6,400 individuals. In 2003, this program trained 591 individuals in CPR and 273 childcare workers in first aid. In addition, 298 body-piercing practitioners from the State of Florida received training and/or certification in sanitation and blood borne pathogens. Healthy Work Place also completed a three-year cholesterol reduction program demonstrating an average reduction of 39 points in total cholesterol for the individuals enrolled. During the last influenza season Healthy Work Place provided over 2,000 flu shots and decreased absenteeism and the spread of influenza for the participating businesses. By using a fee-for-service business plan, this program covers 75 percent of the cost of providing services. The remainder comes from education portion of the Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control budget. However, the benefit the program provides to local businesses far outweighs the cost to the health department. Businesses that would not employ or could not afford an occupational health nurse now benefit from the outsourcing of this services program.
Healthy Work Place addresses the needs of the business community and provides on-site services such as health education, immunizations, and certifications required for state licensure. These services had not been available locally and, in the case of licensure requirements, businesses had been forced to send staff out of the area to take required courses. Over the seven-years this practice, businesses have requested additions to the original services of basic health education and immunizations. Currently, Healthy Work Place provides services to funeral directors, cosmetologists, dentists, veterinarians, nursing schools, daycares, body-piercing staff, unlicensed direct services providers, animal control staff, and several businesses. Lee County Healthy Work Place is the first in the state to offer correspondence courses for licensure requirements. In addition, this practice offers blood borne pathogen education, American Heart Association CPR training, State of Florida first aid training, HIV/AIDS training, OSHA tuberculosis training, and communicable disease, bio-medical waste, and medication administration training. Before 1996, this outreach to local business was not available in the community.
Agency Community RolesHealthy Work Place is in the educational division of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control Services – Lee County Health Department, and it is wholly a public health project. The local businesses request specific services based on their needs, and Healthy Work Place works with them (and in some cases, invents new ways) to provide those services. This agency assures that businesses have access to education, health services, and immunizations that guard the health of workers and the public that they serve. As a result of this program, businesses also have access to a quality product delivered at their work site at a reasonable cost. Costs and ExpendituresHealthy Work Place began with a single FTE and basic health education materials. As the need for services grew, additional staff was added. Currently, there are four FTEs, a vehicle, and 3,000 square feet of office space. Healthy Work Place receives 75 percent of its funding through fee-for-service. The remainder comes from the education portion of the Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control budget. The benefit to the community far exceeds the cost of the program. ImplementationThe Healthy Work Place Program is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guidelines for Implementing and Evaluating Public Health Systems. The following steps were taken to develop the Healthy Work Place Program: Surveillance (Identification of the problem). Prior to the program, medium to small businesses in Lee County lacked occupational health services. Risk Factor Identification (Identification of the population in need). Businesses and government agencies in Lee County requested additional educational and health services. Intervention (Development of strategies to address the problem). The health department identified needed services that could be implemented immediately and those that could not be implemented until the staff was well trained. Implementation (Notification to the population of new services). Using the telephone directory, the health department constructed a large database of businesses and government agencies. After the mail merge letters were sent, the requests for services began almost immediately. Planning for the program began in late October 1996 and services were available by January 1997. The Healthy Work Place Program objectives include: Promote a culture of health and safety within the business community through public health education by providing services within the working environment during normal business hours. Provide immunizations to businesses and government agencies for disease prevention by reviewing employee health needs or records and offering on-site immunizations. Help businesses increase productivity and reduce absenteeism by providing services at the work site by offering occupational nursing services on-site and providing health education with follow-up. Develop and present public health education curricula to promote health and meet employees’ State of Florida licensure requirements. To accomplish this last task, the Healthy Work Place staff will work to become certified to provide education that meets licensure requirements.
As required by the state, detailed records have been kept regarding the number of individuals taking each class, each vaccine dose given and each business served. This data is compiled in a monthly report. When comparing the number of services provided year by year, there was a 140% increase from 1997 to 1998. Since that time the number of services provided yearly has increased steadily, demonstrating a 66% increase since 1998. Clearly, the goal of promoting health in Lee County’s business community has been met.
SustainabilityCurrently, this program provides services to 191 businesses and more than 6,400 individuals. After eight years, the program is well established and highly regarded within the business community. Moreover, the program is now self-sustaining and can provide services that may be used by large and small business alike. Lessons LearnedPublic health services are in great demand by the private sector. It is possible for a public health agency to provide these needed services to the private sector.  Key Elements ReplicationThis program can be replicated in multiple settings with few staff members and limited resources.