Expert Perspective by Grahall’s Robert Cirkiel
In a recent United Health Foundation study, “The Healthiest and Unhealthiest States”, Vermont — which is the home of the beautiful Grahall Properties and birthplace of Grahall partner Michael Graham — finished first. Forbes published the study finding. We are extremely proud of this achievement. For the record, full disclosure, and transparency we have no relationship with either Forbes or the Foundation that would affect these findings.
The study considers the 22 factors they consider to be most important, but let me discuss my personal eight which are somewhat different. I discovered them a few years ago in Italy. At the time, I was chaperoning my son’s eighth grade class trip. My job was to be the “surrogate parent” – I did the “parenting” so that the teacher would be free to do the teaching. In one week’s time, I lost ten pounds along with all of my little aches and pains and rediscovered my energy. For the record I am a “50 something” who expected the constant touring and pasta consumption to have the opposite effect.
So, to what do I attribute this? Was it happiness, engagement, meaningfulness, achievement, exercise, sunshine, rest, and food quality? Notice I did not say stress-less. In fact, keeping an eighth grade Latin class out of the Arno is anything but. But it was good stress, as in what I was doing was difficult but important and getting the students home in one piece and with fine memories was all the achievement and satisfaction I needed.
Seems like such a simple formula, right? I submit that it is a contributing factor to why Italians spend 9% of GDP on health care and we spend over 16%. We can pass all the laws we want and vilify insurance companies, doctors and the government all we want but until we get healthier our spending will never come under control.
Employers need to take a close look at my list because they can impact every item on it. For many, the workplace is their primary source of engagement, meaningfulness and achievement. The workplace must engender these things. And, while an employer cannot turn unhappy people into happy people or fix everything that is wrong in an employee’s life, it does control what happens during the work day. And, employers certainly can have a large influence on wellness by using the company medical plan to drive it and all employers should do so.
As far as our country’s efforts to get our health equation under control via Federal legislation, note that Massachusetts, the State with the laws most closely resembling the bills before Congress, finished third in the study. This suggests that legislation can help. But at the end of the day, the Vermont model with its outdoorsy lifestyle and ample supply of medical services works even better.
Grahall can help your organization get control of your medical costs, improve outcomes, and increase productivity. Contact us and let us show you how.
For more information about renting Grahall Properties for conferences, training sessions or simply for rest and relaxation in an environment that inspires reflection and creative thinking contact Robert Cirkiel at email@example.com.