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  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle offering free downloads, other rewards for wellness to county workers

Monday, April 02, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will announce a “worksite wellness” program Monday in hopes of steering county government employees away from the emergency room and toward the salad bar and gym.

The program will provide rewards — from free music downloads to pedometers — for any of the 22,000 county employees who volunteer to participate in health assessments that look at eating and exercising practices to a walking program.

Preckwinkle said the program — developed with the aid of Blue Cross Blue Shield and the blessing of labor leaders representing the largely unionized workforce — will be free to employees and won’t cost taxpayers anything.

Last year, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a similar program. It called for city employees to pay $50 more a month in health insurance premiums if they chose not to participate in his wellness plan. Emanuel is hoping to save $20 million this year — and $240 million over four years — by cutting obesity and smoking that contribute to costly but controllable problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma.



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