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FOR RELEASE: October 19 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Nominees Sought for Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business Awards

The Oklahoma State Department of Health today joined with the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce to announce the 2006 Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business Program. This program recognizes businesses that are working to improve Oklahoma’s health by providing health and wellness opportunities for their employees. This program also supports broader efforts aimed at improving Oklahoma’s health status, such as the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative.

The program is open to profit and non-profit businesses as well as educational institutions. Those businesses that meet certification criteria will be honored on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, during the annual Oklahoma Turning Point Council Forum at the Clarion Meridian Conference Center in Oklahoma City.

As an added bonus, Chesapeake Energy Corporation in Oklahoma City will provide further recognition activities and has arranged for Chris Paul of the Hornets to honor 2006 certified healthy businesses during a state Capitol news conference planned for March 2007. Chesapeake Energy will also join with St. Anthony Hospital to provide free consultation to those companies that achieve the “Award of Excellence” to help them improve their employee wellness program and allow them to share ideas with other winning organizations.

The Certified Healthy Business Program was initiated in 2003, and thus far, more than 240 businesses have been certified. Certification requirements vary by size of workplace but in general they include providing employee health screenings, workplace health education, opportunities for physical exercise activities, management support for healthy workplace environments, and sharing wellness activities within their respective communities. For the 2006 program, all businesses applying for certification are required to have a tobacco-free policy.

“We are pleased to continue our support of this opportunity to recognize those workplaces that value their employees’ health,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher. “Frankly, good health is good business.”
Crutcher said program sponsors are seeking to encourage health insurers to consider rate changes in employee health insurance for those businesses that become certified.

Certification categories include small workplaces (1 to 25 employees), medium workplaces (26 to 100 employees), large workplaces (101-999 employees), and corporate workplaces, (more than 1,000 employees).

Nomination forms may be accessed by visiting this Web site: www.okturningpoint.org. Forms can be submitted online or by forwarding to Neil Hann, Community Development Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1000 Northeast Tenth Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117. Nominations must be submitted no later than Nov. 1, 2006.

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