CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago says it is well on its way to having almost all employees participating in its new Wellness Program, dubbed “Chicago Lives Healthy.”

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, so far – three weeks into the sign-up period – a total of 22,420 employees of the city and sister agencies, and their spouses, have agreed to participate in the Emanuel administration’s wellness program.

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Another 25,000 or so employees have yet to be heard from, but to date, city officials say only about 54 employees or spouses flat-out said they wouldn’t take part. Among those who have responded, that brings the acceptance rate to 99.8 percent.

“Our program will change lives, make our workforce healthier, and save taxpayers money,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “It will only work if people join and I’m so pleased to report that we’ve had well over 22,000 employees or spouses join the program.”

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The program offers free annual health screenings, check-ups, call-ins, and special programs. They include programs to help workers lose weight or stop smoking.

The program is free for city workers and their spouses or partners. But if they choose not to participate, they have to pay an extra $50 a person per month toward health care.

The last day to sign up is scheduled to be Friday, Aug. 31.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports