The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce convened a variety of content experts from across the state of Colorado and the Grand Valley to provide relevant information and cultivate critical conversations around health-related topics that are currently impacting our business community at the recent Health Summit last month. From the upcoming rollout of Colorado’s FAMLI program, access and affordability of health coverage, and the seriousness of workplace wellness, attendees discussed a variety of issues that are paramount to the stability and success of our local business climate.

Employers throughout the Valley, both small and large, kicked off the morning keynote which featured Tracy Marshall and Evan Grimes who spoke about the new Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program. The session covered what will be expected from employers, and the overall timeline for the rollout ahead of the January 1st start date. The FAMLI Program aims to ensure Colorado workers have access to paid leave during certain life events that pull them away from their jobs. Questions from those in the audience revolved around the impact of contributions from employers, who are covered by the FAMLI program, and details for the final rule-making period.

Michael Conway, Colorado Insurance Commissioner, and Kyle Brown, Deputy Commissioner for Affordability Programs led the second keynote of the day, discussing the access and affordability of health coverage for employees with the start of the new Colorado Option. This program is designed to improve access, affordability, and racial health equity for consumers purchasing health insurance in individual and small-group markets. Commissioner Conway and Deputy Commissioner Brown discussed when this program is set for open enrollment, and what the availability looks like in Mesa County. Concerns regarding the impact on costs for private insurers were top of mind as inflationary pressures will create difficulty for these new plans that have caps on rate increases each year.

The Health Summit also included four breakout sessions for attendees to choose from which included:

  1. “Healthcare Options – What is the Best Fit for Your Business” presented by Ed Krey with Lighthouse HR covered how healthcare impacts business, what current benefits there are, and how to decipher what to look for when evaluating options.
  2. “How Promoting Healthy Habits Impact Your Bottom Line” presented by Dr. Michael Pramenko with Primary Care Partners discussed how workplace health such as a work-life balance and healthy eating ultimately impacts the health of the overall organization.
  3. “Legal Landmines” presented by Michael Santo of Bechtel & Santo Law Firm covered how to prepare for legal dilemmas that might appear on the horizon for businesses.
  4. “Workplace Burnout” co-presented by Dr. Carlos Baldo with Colorado Mesa University and Kenra Haftel from Triad EAP covered the important conversation revolving around workplace awareness of burnout, how burnout can happen in a working environment, how businesses can manage and work hard to prevent burnout among employees, and steps to take to recover from burnout. Working towards a workplace with low burnout rates and higher employee satisfaction continues to be a priority and a goal employers should focus on and improve upon.

Through these four, action-packed sessions, attendees were able to learn about the impact that health and wellness have on their work and personal lives, and how to implement new and overall healthy lifestyle practices in their businesses in order to build a strong and healthy workforce.

A lunch panel discussion wrapped up the day featuring Chris Thomas with Community Hospital, Bryan Johnson with Intermountain Western Colorado, Dr. Jeff Kuhr with Mesa County Public Health, and Dr. David Conklin with Mind Springs Health. Focused on the importance of workplace and community health, this panel helped shed light on how we must continue to work together to ensure we are doing what we can to promote healthy behaviors while also ensuring employees continue to have access to affordable options. Understanding that health impacts business and business impacts health, these local leaders shared thoughtful discussions on how it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to our community’s health challenges and successes.

If you were not able to join us at the 2022 Annual Health Summit, we look forward to seeing you at our 2023 summit which is already planned for October 2023. Until then, we as a Chamber look forward to continuing to explore the importance of collaborative and creative solutions that promote both workplace and community health in the coming year.

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