Posts Tagged ‘healthcare reform’

Ignoring Employee Health Can Have a Huge Impact on the Bottom Line

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Employers are faced with many tough bottom-line decisions every day.  Because of healthcare reform, the health of employees and cost of that health has moved to the forefront. We all know that the growing trend over the past 20 years has showed Americans becoming less active, overly stressed and obese. How does that translate into dollars? Obese employees cost their employers $1,850-$5,500 more per year in healthcare costs than their healthy-weight peers. A new Gallup poll o nearly 110,000 full-time employees estimates that unhealthy workers cost businesses $153 billion a year in lost productivity. Only about one in seven employees — 13.9 percent of the workforce — is of normal weight with no chronic condition.

In response, many employers try to implement wellness programs that promise big return on invested dollars, but often fail. Why? In one word; Culture! The only true way to create behavior change, which leads to lifestyle change, is through creating a culture within the office walls. Behavior change takes time which is why having a supportive culture plays such a large role in the process. Accountability and adherence is vital in this process. For example, some companies choose to do an online wellness program, which of course is normally the least expensive option to choose.  Employees log on and register in the beginning, but rarely utilize the program over a two to six month period, or these employees “click through” a program in order to say they have completed it without gaining any type of benefit! Why? Because there is no follow up and commitment aspect.  Some US companies are finally realizing that these types of “wellness programs” are merely a band aid on an amputated arm!  It just doesn’t work. At a human level people need interaction and attention to build the culture, then the behavior changes can start to take place. It’s a process that needs to be nurtured.

Many companies look at “wellness programs” as something to check off the list when talking about insurance, benefits or human resource topics.  This is a grave mistake. A healthy workforce not only yields more productivity and less insurance claims that drive down aggregates, but it creates loyalty from the employees.  A wellness program isn’t simply a blood panel test taken once a year followed by a couple webinars and a pedometer. A true, and effective, wellness program takes into account the entire person on a physical, nutritional and emotional level. It deals directly with stress, quality of life, time management, productivity, planning and self esteem!  The cherry on top is the reduced health care costs and increased work output!

Don’t just “check off” wellness. Become involved, become the example and become the leader who creates a positive and productive culture for employees.

Listen to the full podcast here.


Danielle Girdano is a Certified Master Personal Trainer, who specializes in Childhood Obesity, Exercise for Persons with Diabetes, Postural Assessment & Corrective Exercises for Postural Abnormalities, Weight Loss, Strength and Endurance, Senior Fitness, Pregnancy & Postnatal Exercise, and Exercise Motivation & Psychology.  She is President of D’fine Sculpting & Nutrition LLC with offices in multiple US states. In addition to being one of only 12 worldwide professionals that sit on the prestigious Personal Training Advisory Board for The Cooper Institute based in Dallas TX, she was recently named to the “Top 40 Executives Under 40” by the Dallas Business Journal and nominated for the “2013 Chicago Innovation Awards” because of her mathematical based fitness programs.  She serves as Fitness Advisor for Synergy Worldwide based in Utah.

Handicapping the 2012 Presidential Race

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Conventional wisdom tells us that no sitting president is ever re-elected when the unemployment rate tops seven percent and people have less disposable income.  Others wonder if President Barack Obama should have taken on housing reform before tackling healthcare because home ownership and the value of the residence is perceived by Americans as a measure of personal wealth.

In the opinion of Douglas Hibbs, a retired economics professor who taught at the University of Gothernburg in Sweden, “The best predictions of 2012 election results, as of earlier elections, will almost surely be delivered by price data at thick-market betting sites like Intrade because they indicate the level of disposable income.

Writing in The New Yorker, Samantha Henig says that “The Republican field may be full of Eccentrics and Implausibles, but President Obama does have a formidable foe in the economy, Elaine Kamarck, a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says.  The President also has to contend with Americans’ newfound belief, stemmed from the economic disaster in Greece, that ‘deficits are the roots of all economic evils.’”

Alan Abramowitz’s “Time for Change” model tries to achieve this task.   Using 2nd quarter GDP growth in the election year, presidential approval in the election year, and a dummy variable (one or zero) for whether the party in the White House has completed one or more terms, he finds that the term variable is very important.  President Obama is expected to win 4.4 percent more of the popular vote than he would if his party were in its second term in the White House for a projected percentage between 53 – 54 percent.

The fact that President Obama raised a record-breaking $86 million for his re-election campaign from April to June, exceeding a $60 million quarterly target and effortlessly surpassing all Republican challengers, lends credibility to Hibbs’ and Intrade’s prognostications.  Small donations drove that enormous cash collection in the 2nd quarter; 98 percent of those donations totaled $250 or less.  The average donation was approximately $69, according to campaign manager Jim Messina.  Obama’s campaign received donations from more than 552,000 individuals and noted that it had “more grass-roots support at this point in the process than any campaign in political history.”  According to Chris Arterton, a political management professor at George Washington University, “They have smashed all records.  I think it is quite dramatic.”

The President’s successful fundraising likely surpassed that of all his declared opponents.  Combining the known fundraising totals, Republican candidates brought in $35.5 million.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney raised a paltry $18 million in the quarter.  “We did this from the bottom up,” Messina said.  “We didn’t accept one single dollar from Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs.”

The ability to raise campaign cash,  a key indicator of the success of any presidential candidate, is more important in the 2012 presidential election, which is expected to be the most expensive in history.  Quarterly fundraising statistics are a closely watched barometer of early-stage presidential races because they offer clues to a candidate’s long-term viability, organizational expertise and the enthusiasm among supporters.  The enormous intake of campaign cash for the president comes as the importance of having an effective fundraising operation is greater than ever, in part because of the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision that lets corporations and unions exercise free speech rights by spending unlimited amounts on campaign ads.  President Obama, who filled his 2008 campaign coffers with millions in small donations, is now armed with the power of incumbency, and is likely get sizeable donations from corporate and establishment donors.

“Your early support means we can make more investments now, giving our organizers more time to build relationships on the ground, reach more people and recruit more volunteers,” Messina said. “The most important thing isn’t the dollar total, but the number of people who pitched in to own a piece of this campaign.”

Will Healthcare Be Commercial Real Estate’s Savior?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Will Healthcare Be Commercial Real Estate SaviorWith the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now the law of the land, commercial real estate executives are waiting to see what impact the legislation will have on their business.   Consensus is that the new healthcare law changes crucial demand drivers for real estate by introducing alternative models to deliver medical services.  The potential to impact commercial real estate lies in the fact that as many as 32 million additional Americans will receive coverage when the law becomes fully implemented in 2014.  They will need a place to receive healthcare.

In a white paper written by Kenneth Meyer and Rob Grossman, Principals with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the authors note that “Using an industry multiplier of 1.9 SF required per patient to estimate the net effect of additional patients on space utilization, it can be estimated that 64 million SF will be required to meet the increased demand.  Since the demand for additional medical space will begin almost immediately, the industry cannot afford a long wait due to development of new medical office buildings, nor can the industry continue to thrive by building more square footage without addressing current square foot absorption.”

To fill growing demand, retail locations are becoming increasingly important to healthcare, especially wellness centers, preventive care clinics and urgent care clinics -a new and emerging trend.  As of February of 2010, there are approximately 1,200 retail clinics in the United States.  “CVS leads the market with 569 retail clinics in 25 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the authors.  “Recent changes in healthcare legislation should help to drive demand and support profitability.  Retail space dedicated to health education could see a boost in the near future.”

Healthcare providers present diversity in a tenant mix and can protect the owner against shifting market conditions.  “A recent study of Fitch-rated Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the U.S. further illustrated the strength of the healthcare real estate sector,” according to Meyer and Grossman.  “In 2009, Healthcare REITs were the only property type that did not receive a downgrade by Fitch.  In fact, during that same time period two Healthcare REITs actually received ratings upgrades.”

Federal Presence Strengthens Washington, D.C.’s Office Market

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Washington, D.C.’s 10.4 percent office vacancy rate is far below the 17.3 percent national average.  Washington, D.C.’s commercial real estate market – including its Virginia and Maryland suburbs – continues to be the nation’s most stable with vacancy rates far below the national average.  The area’s vacancy rate stood at 10.4 percent at the end of the first quarter, far below the 17.3 percent national average, according to Reis, a New York-based real estate research firm.  Effective rents have fared well through the Great Recession, sliding just five percent from their 2009 peak high of $41.43 PSF.

“There is a tremendous amount of domestic capital looking to invest in D.C. for obvious reasons,” said John Kevill, managing director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Washington, D.C. office.  “Aside from its solid fundamentals, investor demand is being stoked by the area’s dominant industry, the federal government.  The office market is benefitting from continued government spending in areas such as healthcare, the war on terror and the economic stimulus package.  That activity is really differentiating our economy from virtually every other economy in the country, which is why we are seeing an increase in transactional velocity”

As an example, Jones Lang LaSalle at present is listing twice the number of for-sale properties than just one year ago.  A key selling point for an office building in Landover, MD, is a 10-year lease just signed with the General Services Administration (GSA) on behalf of the Department of Defense.  The two-story Class B office building recently sold for a cap rate of 8.4 percent; the purchaser was the Government Properties Income Trust.  Real Capital Analytics reports that cap rates for Maryland office properties averaged 9.4 percent over the past year.

Michael Alter Joins Investor Group to Purchase The New Republic

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

republic05We are excited to announce that Michael Alter, president of The Alter Group, is part of an investment team that has purchased The New Republic (TNR).  TNR is one of the nation’s oldest political and cultural magazines.  The Obama administration has chosen it as one of the magazines placed on Air Force One, and Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has said “The New Republic will be required reading in the White House.”

Michael’s status as one of the nation’s most independent and visionary commercial real estate developers and philanthropists makes him an excellent fit with TNR. Since its founding, the magazine has always been fiercely independent, going beyond the rancor of the political debate to be a voice for truth, accuracy and fairness, irrespective of political affiliation.  Under Editor Frank Foer’s fiercely independent leadership, TNR has become aligned with the Obama administration and its left-wing domestic policy, while retaining its fidelity to a strong national defense.  We are proud to claim as our spiritual fathers Teddy Roosevelt and Louis Brandeis.

Currently, TNR is experiencing a resurgence by focusing in-depth on critical issues such as healthcare, the environment, transportation and economic stewardship.  And our staff is extraordinary.  Writer Jonathan Cohn, for example, has become well known on “Colbert Nation”, “Keith Olbermann” and National Public Radio as one of the most progressive voices on healthcare reform.  With TNR readership up by 30 percent within the Washington Beltway, we are implementing a new masthead to freshen our look and are unveiling a new website in the fall to draw younger readers to the magazine.

TNR was founded in 1914 by legendary journalist Walter Lippmann.  During the early 20th century, the publication was the voice of liberalism and a strong opponent of McCarthyism and the Vietnam War.  Over its 95-year history, TNR has published articles by such eminent authors as Virginia Woolf, Phillip Roth, George Orwell, John Dewey and Thomas Mann.

“We are proud to be taking this celebrated institution into the 21st century,” according to Alter. “We will maintain its extraordinary staff of writers and editors, but give them more resources to capitalize on the success of the website and the revamped look of the magazine.”

Well said, Michael.

Mike Rancilio is publisher of The New Republic