TrueLifeCare: An angel on your shoulder – Taking the Hire Road

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Kay Pfeiffer, senior vice president of TrueLifeCare joined Jeremy Reymer on a recent episode of Taking the Hire Road. Pfeiffer and Reymer chatted about the importance of awareness, education and action in addressing the diabetes epidemic plaguing the trucking industry today.
The average lifespan of a truck driver is just 61 years old. That doesn’t sit right with Pfeiffer.
A trio of diseases — sleep apnea, diabetes and hypertension — is largely responsible for shortening the lifespan of drivers across the nation. One of these diseases, diabetes, is particularly insidious because it can also come with a slew of disabling complications.
About 39 million American adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and that number is expected to grow exponentially over the next five years. In the truck driving population, about 500,000 people — or 15%-17% of all drivers — live with diabetes, according to Pfeiffer.
On a daily basis, unmanaged diabetes causes about 50 people to go blind, leads to 220 amputations and pushes 240 patients into end-stage kidney failure. Fortunately, the disease does not have to end this way. The U.S. health care system, however, is not set up to help patients — especially busy patients like truck drivers — proactively manage their health.
“It is manageable if you get the right help. The current health care system, unfortunately, does not provide the right help,” Pfeiffer said.
TrueLifeCare steps in where the mainstream health care industry steps out. The organization partners with carriers to help their drivers manage chronic conditions, including diabetes.
TrueLifeCare provides program participants with direct access to a nurse for consistent support in making healthier choices — from deciding what to eat at a truck stop to fitting movement into their schedules. Pfeiffer called these nurses “angels on their shoulders,” pointing out the necessity of compassionate support for people making difficult lifestyle changes.
The organization also provides participants with free testing supplies and other practical resources to reduce the barrier to proactive diabetes management.
By keeping drivers healthier and happier, participating in a program like TrueLifeCare keeps them driving longer. When drivers experience diabetes complications like blindness or amputations, they are prematurely taken out of the workforce. Pfeiffer noted that, in an industry that is already struggling with a driver shortage, this is a serious challenge for carriers.
“If we don’t do all we can to help drivers manage their diabetes, they’re going to fall into the shortage,” Pfeiffer said.
Carriers experience other benefits from participating in the program as well. Most participants — including TrueLifeCare partner Heartland Express — see medical spend decrease by as much as 50% for program participants. Additionally, issues like absenteeism, productivity lags and frequent worker’s compensation claims are reduced.
At the end of the day, drivers want to work for carriers that care about them. And carriers want to keep their drivers happier and healthier on the road. A strong commitment to health — and a partnership with a company like TrueLifeCare — is a great way to accomplish those goals.
Sponsors: Career Now Brands, Carrier Intelligence, Infinit-I, Workhound, Asurint, Transportation Marketing Group, Seiza, Drive My Way, DriverReach, F|Staff, Trucksafe

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