FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2006
Babyproofing the Bottom Line
Innovative start-up helps employers reduce maternity-driven turnover, HR costs with health education and loyalty program for new moms and dads
San Diego, CA -- In the midst of Amy Crecy’s first pregnancy in 2004, her husband, Aaron, noticed a building resentment to the sales job at which she had excelled for five years. Working out of a home office located 1,850 miles from her employer’s headquarters, Amy spent countless hours on the phone with human resources representatives trying to determine maternity benefits and leave protocols. The experience left Mrs. Crecy feeling ignored and disenfranchised—when she perceived that her longtime employer, a fast-growing pharmaceutical company known for its benefits, didn’t care about her condition, Amy became detached from both management and colleagues.
“Having to call HR repeatedly became a real frustration for her,” recalls Aaron Crecy, a seasoned entrepreneur. “What really upset Amy was when, late in the second trimester, she asked her manager to split a scheduled eight-hour ride-along in the middle of the summer into two consecutive four-hour days and was basically told to ‘suck it up.’ It’s not that she was trying to shirk her responsibilities, but rather make some accommodation for her condition. At that point, she mentally checked out from a job that she had once loved.”
Aaron was surprised to find that the couple’s health plan, Aetna, didn’t contact his wife to encourage participation in their prenatal program. He and his business partner, Kevin Darr, talked about the issue and began to analyze data on maternity-driven costs to employers, such as turnover, absenteeism, leave time, productivity loss and preventable healthcare claims.
What they discovered was staggering—companies such as Ernst & Young and KPMG admit to spending more than $10 million annually due to maternity-related turnover alone. Experts estimate that corporations lose $100,000 or more when a new mother fails to return to work—law firms spend between $200,000 and $500,000 to replace a single attorney. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 40 percent of full-time employees fail to return to their pre-pregnancy employer within 12 months of childbirth—the same study found that half of those women actually remained in the workforce, often transitioning laterally to a competitor with similar compensation, hours and responsibilities.
“We spoke with enough health plans to determine that they are primarily focused on reducing their own care costs,” explains Darr. “That means that they actively market their prenatal education programs to employees with high risk characteristics, and then encourage participation in intensive case management programs at substantial cost to the employer. Well, that model excludes more than 90 percent of pregnant women in the corporate environment, and employers are losing valuable retention, education and loyalty opportunities. Health plans are the only vendors we know of that have carte blanche to reduce their own delivery costs while the client continues to hemorrhage money and top talent.”
So, Crecy and Darr founded MaternityCare Direct (http://www.maternitycaredirect.com/
) in 2005. It is the nation's first employee retention and loyalty program delivered within the context of a comprehensive health and lifestyle management platform, designed specifically for the general maternity population. The company is focused on helping employers generate return-on-investment by reducing maternity-driven turnover, absenteeism, stress, leave time and healthcare costs while reinforcing an inclusive organizational culture.
MaternityCare Direct promotes early intervention, supporting employees and dependents from confirmation of pregnancy through return-to-work via online, telephonic and direct mail initiatives customized to the specific needs and interests of each enrollee.
Designed to provide recruiting advantages and public relations for employers seeking family-minded prospects, MaternityCare Direct also provides a positive point of contact with employees on maternity leave, an experience historically accompanied by social and professional isolation.
The consumer-directed curriculum, designed by leading San Diego Ob/Gyn and MaternityCare Direct chief medical advisor Dr. David Harari, FACOG, includes a generous selection of books, literature, branded loyalty items, care products, recurring health risk assessments and return-to-work incentives such as a Medela breastpump and a subscription to Working Mother magazine. Alternative return-to-work initiatives in development include cord blood banking subsidies and an employer-sponsored college savings plan with annual contributions on the child’s birthday.
“The contemporary healthcare structure almost precludes physicians from providing sufficient prenatal education,” comments Dr. Harari. “Today’s managed care environment and high caseloads limit the physician-patient interaction, and existing health plan programs are simply inadequate. A brochure and access to online medical reference material just doesn’t meet the existing need. I tell my patients that pregnancy is like college—you have to study in order to be successful. With MaternityCare Direct, we’ve created a HIPAA-compliant environment for employers to comprehensively educate and support pregnant employees and their families.”
Now, Crecy and MaternityCare Direct must convince employers to embrace the concept of supporting prenatal employees and facilitating their return to work. Currently priced at less that $1000 per enrollee, MaternityCare Direct is often evaluated alongside health plan-delivered prenatal education programs. Because such programs fail to address turnover, absenteeism, leave time or productivity loss while offering little incentive to participate. Crecy is comfortable with the comparison.
“When it comes to maternity-related retention and support, employers really do get what they pay for,” Crecy states. “We’ve created a retention initiative that costs employers less than one percent of what they will pay to replace that employee. Corporate employers typically address retention with benefits such as flexible scheduling and onsite childcare, and while we applaud those programs, they don’t prevent the employee who has had a neutral or negative experience during pregnancy from moving to a competitor with the same or similar benefits. In contrast, MaternityCare Direct engages employees from early in pregnancy and guides them through the journey.“
“MaternityCare Direct helps build strong emotional relationships with pregnant employees that engender ongoing loyalty,” explains Crecy. “We certainly believe employers will recognize the significant value of our business model.”
For information about MaternityCare Direct product and services, please call (866) 594-0064 or visit us online at http://www.maternitycaredirect.com/
. A subsidiary of WellGift Corporation, MaternityCare Direct is a certified woman-owned, minority-owned small disadvantaged business based in San Diego, CA.
Aaron Crecy, CEO
Direct: (619) firstname.lastname@example.org