• July 23, 2014

Flu season costs some Killeen businesses

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:30 am

The U.S. economy loses $10.5 billion in lost productivity and direct medical expense each flu season, according to a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But some of the Killeen-Fort Hood area’s largest employers offered different takes on the impact of flu season.

“We’ve definitely seen a pretty strong impact this year,” said Susan Parkhill, site director for Aegis in Killeen. “Any time you have a reason for staff to stay home and miss work, there will be a drop-off in productivity.”

Parkhill said she did not know exactly how many Aegis employees have missed time due to the flu, but she said absences have been noticeable.

“I had one project with about 50 people on it where the manager got the flu,” Parkhill said. “One of the supervisors and another employee on the project also missed time with the flu. And that was just one project measured from Friday until (Wednesday) morning.”

Officials with Seton Medical Center Harker Heights and H-E-B reported no slowdown in production due to the flu.

Mona Tucker, director of Human Resources at Seton, credited a combination of preparation and luck. The hospital has about 430 employees.

“We have been very fortunate that we have had no issues with staffing in regards to the flu from an associate standpoint,” Tucker said. “I would attribute our success with the war against the flu to our due diligence for early immunization of our associates and emphasizing proper hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer foam.”

H-E-B spokeswoman Tamra Jones credited “cross-training” from preventing a productivity loss at any of the chain’s locations throughout Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton, Copperas Cove and Temple.

“It hasn’t really been an issue for us,” Jones said. “We have 1,300 employees in the Killeen-Fort Hood area. If someone is ill, we can fill that spot. For example, our bookkeepers are trained to be checkers. It is a team effort.”

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