Workers' sickly test results prompt San Francisco to act 

click to enlarge In November 2008, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom sought to improve the health of city workers by directing city departments to develop wellness programs. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images File Photo
  • In November 2008, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom sought to improve the health of city workers by directing city departments to develop wellness programs.

More than 100 city workers took advantage of free health screenings provided by a mobile trailer parked outside a government building last month, and the results were not good.  

Of the participants, 64 had elevated blood pressure, 14 had elevated blood sugar, 45 hadn’t had an eye exam in the past 24 months, 27 were told they needed to see their primary care physicians in short order, and 25 had not had checkups in two or more years.

Catherine Dodd, the head of The City’s Health Service System, called the results “distressing.”  

For Dodd, the results reinforce her effort to create a comprehensive plan to ensure a healthier government workforce that would not only improve workers’ quality of life, but also slow the pace of the ever-increasing cost of health benefits. To that end, she met with union labor leaders last week to talk about how to improve the health of their members.

The details of just who the screened city employees were last month is unclear.

In November 2008, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom sought to improve the health of city workers by directing city departments to develop wellness programs. “Physical inactivity can cost the city and county of San Francisco an estimated $4,704 per employee per year for medical care, workers’ compensation and lost productivity,” Newsom said at the time.

For example, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, promotes the health of its workforce by encouraging employees to visit their physicians and “participate in exercise and weight loss classes ... and to make the commitment to improve their stamina and reduce stress,” agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

Dodd said existing efforts are good, but far from where The City should be. “Our stats don’t fall out of range of other large employers,” Dodd said. “It’s still not good.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

Screenings
On Nov. 9, a biometric screening trailer was parked outside of the 1 South Van Ness Ave. city government building and open to anyone who wanted a health checkup. Here are the results:
101 Screened
45 Had no eye exam in past 24 months
64 Had elevated blood pressure
14 Elevated blood sugar
27 Were told they needed to see primary care physicians
25 Had not had checkups in two years or longer
Source: Health Service System

 

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