Saving Backs…and Costs!

by Annie Locke

On-site chiropractic care can improve employee health while cutting overall costs.

After repeatedly lifting and loading heavy cases at Brewers Distributing Company, Josh Jackson began experiencing back pain. Though he tried working through it, the pain would often get worse; that is, until he was paid a visit by a local chiropractor.

A graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, Dr. Jay Benningfield of Benningfield and Associates comes from a family of chiropractors spanning two generations. Dr. Benningfield—or “Dr. Jay,” as he is known to patients—visits Brewers Distributing once a week to help relieve the pain felt by Jackson and other employees. “I experience pain a bit each day,” Jackson says. “It helps tremendously.”

As a wholesaler for Anheuser-Busch, the world’s leading brewing company, Brewers Distributing employees spend much of their time moving around hefty cases and kegs of beer. Having noticed a large number of workers compensation cases due to lifting-related injuries, the company decided to introduce several workplace wellness programs to prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place. One of these programs involved weekly, on-site chiropractic visits, free of charge to any employee. “Dr. Jay was one of many initiatives we had,” explain Robert F. Personett, chief financial officer at Brewers, “but this is one that we feel has given us the most benefit.”

Every Thursday, Dr. Jay comes to Brewers during the employee shift change. “The convenience is the best part,” Jackson notes. “It only takes about five minutes and a little tweak—and I’m good to go.” In addition, if employees need help outside of that weekly window of time, they can always visit him in his office.

By treating pain before it develops into a serious injury, the preventative approach is a good fit with Dr. Benningfield’s philosophy on wellness, which includes health and nutrition education on top of on-site chiropractic adjustments. “We see them when [the pain] is minor,” he explains. “If we weren’t there—if they didn’t have the option—these guys would still come in and work until it became something severe and needed [to be] covered by workers' compensation.”

While some business owners and administrators might dismiss such a program as too expensive, it has actually saved Brewers a significant amount of money. In the two years since it was implemented, the number of employee sick days has declined by 22 percent, while the accident rate has been cut in half. Consequently, the company’s workers' compensation costs have experienced a dramatic reduction, with premiums declining by more than 25 percent.

With that in mind, Brewers has encouraged others to adopt similar programs. At a recent industry conference, the company’s on-site chiropractic program was recognized as a “best practice” among the hundreds of attendees. Katie Waddington, human resources manager, presented information about the program at the conference. “A lot of people at first think, ‘Oh my goodness, that costs to have a chiropractor in your facility!’ But when you really look at the numbers… it makes sense. We have the return on investment and the statistics to prove it.” iBi

Benningfield & Associates Chiropractic Rehabilitation Center is located at 1524 W. Glen Ave. in Peoria. For more information, call Dr. Jay Benningfield at (309) 692-6800.

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