When United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz suffered a heart attack last year, the company’s shares dropped. Investors in the company, though concerned about Munoz’s health, were also highly concerned with how this event would affect the company.1
Are there ways to plan for and mitigate the unpleasant surprise of a sudden illness, which can spook investors and drive company stock value down as it did for United Airlines, McDonald’s, Apple and others?2
The ability to uncover, and therefore manage, health concerns for corporate leaders requires the right type of program. Despite the increased focus on wellness programs in the workplace, executive wellness is often overlooked, even though it has a more readily identifiable return on investment and can have lasting impact on the business. In fact, studies have shown that health concerns can cause productivity reduction by as much as 70%, causing indirect costs to quickly sky-rocket.3
To truly mitigate the risks associated with executive health issues, a more comprehensive, proactive approach, such as executive physicals, is needed.
As previously noted in the article “Executive Health: Their Health Is Your Business,” strategic leaders are at higher risk for health issues, which his another reason why it is important to offer appropriate preventive measures that are designed specifically for this population.
Executive physicals are top-to-toe physical exams that often include a thorough medical review, extensive blood work, vision and hearing tests, electrocardiogram, stress tests, skin cancer screenings and other tests for chronic conditions, as well as an evaluation of the executive lifestyle impact on health. This type of comprehensive physical typically takes a full 8-hour day. Following the exam, the doctor will sit down with the patient and review the available test results, recommend further testing or follow-up and provide counseling about personal health habits.
Executive physicals provide an opportunity for early detection and, therefore, better management of an illness. According to research by Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Transamerica Center for Health Studies, screenings that focus on prevention assist by “detecting health problems early on, which allows for early interventions that can reduce illness severity and duration.”4 Take heart disease and diabetes for instance, two health conditions that executives are more susceptible to.2 These conditions have a high rate of successful treatment when they are detected early, which executive physicals are designed to do in two ways: with screenings and physician consultation.
A manageable time saver
Executives need preventive care because of their higher health risks caused by the demands of their work. But it’s these same demands that cause them not to have time to seek preventive care. Having a dedicated, compressed time for a comprehensive physical enables preventive care to be more manageable. Executives are more likely to keep a day-long executive physical appointment compared to the multitude of doctor appointments it would take to cover the range of diagnostic testing performed with an executive physical.
An executive admitted to repeatedly canceling doctor appointments before his employer offered a health plan that included an executive physical. “It feels so imperative to be at work that taking time for appointments seems nearly impossible, so then you just don’t go and the problem undoubtedly gets worse,” he explained. “The executive physical makes everything so accessible and convenient. You invest one day into your health and that pays off for you, your work performance and the company.”
Protecting what’s valuable
In addition to addressing the overriding health and wellness question for the entire employee population, companies need to recognize and support the health of their top talent. Investing in the right comprehensive program can have immediate positive impact on the business in terms of saving time, as well as mitigating the significant business risk and potential performance impact of sudden loss due to health-related disability or distraction.
To learn more about a program that includes coverage toward and coordination of executive physicals, click here.
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1 “United CEO Suffers Heart Attack, Shares Drop Even Lower.” Reuters.
2 “Executive Health a Top Priority for Stock Holders.” Corporate Wellness Magazine.
3 “Understanding Presenteeism.” Standard Insurance Company.
4 “From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works.” Institute for Health and Productivity Studies Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Transamerica Center for Health Studies®.