Employee Health Screenings Help Trim City Budget
On Tuesday, city employees rolled up their sleeves to take blood pressure and other tests as part of a biometrics wellness screening.
"It's just good to know where you stand as far as your health," said K Rahman, who has worked in the city’s public works department for six years. Rahman also said he has seen an increase in the city’s focus on healthy initiatives for its employees.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley said that the more they know about themselves, the more they can take preventative measures to improve their health. She stopped by a city building on S. Alamo where she said that healthier employees also means a leaner budget.
"The City of San Antonio spends about $110 million a year on health insurance for more than 11,000 employees and so it's very important to us that we keep our costs as low as possible and we do that by having healthy employees,” she said.
The 2012-2013 budget, approved by the city council last year, now includes penalties for nicotine users. Smokers will now give up $40 on their paychecks per pay period.
Sculley also said that free smoking cessation classes are among the healthy initiatives the city is taking to improve the health of its employees.
And for the health of the whole city, Sculley believes San Antonio will one day rank among the top of the list for fittest cities. Recently San Antonio came in dead last, but it was the first time the city made such a list.
"It takes time to change but I see that in San Antonio already,” said Sculley.
On Saturday, the public is invited for the first time to participate in the City Manager’s Step Up To Wellness 5K, which was previously only open to city employees.
Sculley is a nine-time marathon runner, and has completed the Boston Marathon twice, but the smaller races like the one in her honor this weekend are also up her alley.
"We know the event is growing and it's really about getting people moving,” she said of the 5K, which will be held at SeaWorld.