Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Grantee Name

Northeast Business Group on Health

Funding Area

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Publication Date

May 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

October 2011 – December 2012

Diabetes affects more than 1.8 million New Yorkers, and the prevalence has been steadily increasing in the State over the past 11 years.

Diabetes leads to higher medical expenditures, greater economic loss as a result of lost work days, and lower employee productivity. While large employers—those with more than 500 employees—have systems in place to develop or outsource wellness programs, small and medium-sized employers face challenges implementing similar programs. New York’s employer base is primarily small and medium-sized businesses—according to the Department of Labor, 99% of all worksites in New York have fewer than 500 employees.

In 2011, NYHealth awarded Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) a grant to create a worksite wellness center model for small businesses (2–250 employees), and medium-sized businesses (251–500 employees).

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Reviewed more than 100 articles on workplace wellness programs outlining activities, programs, and delivery strategies that have led to positive outcomes for employees;
  • Conducted focus groups with small and medium-sized companies and insurance brokers to evaluate awareness of wellness programs and the types of wellness programs that were currently offered; identify barriers to accessing these programs; and provide feedback on a diabetes toolkit and an online resource center for employers;
  • Surveyed 4,000 small businesses across the State to assess employers’ understanding of how employee health impacts businesses, if they offered or had access to wellness programs, and their willingness to pay for access to an interactive, online website of wellness program resources;
  • Assessed brokers’ interest in offering NEBGH’s online worksite wellness center to their customers and what would they be willing to pay for this service;
  • Interviewed industry experts to determine interest in implementing worksite wellness programs among small and medium-sized businesses; and
  • Developed a model for an employer workplace wellness website; an assessment of the cost of such a website; a business strategy for sustainably funding the site; and a diabetes toolkit with an implementation guide, instructional videos, and online links for employers to use.

NEBGH faced challenges in obtaining financing for building and sustaining the website. Through interviews and focus groups, NEBGH had identified potential funding streams; however, potential funders first wanted to see that the site was available and was demonstrating value. NEBGH will continue to seek additional funding to build the website and make it available to small and medium-sized employers.