This is a headline in an LA Times article written by Michael Hiltzik and is yet another major mainstream media hit on corporate-sponsored wellness.
He writes, “Perhaps the most popular fad at large today in the employee health benefit world is the ‘wellness’ program.”
Doubts about the efficacy of wellness are popping up left and right. “Now there’s more evidence that the programs don’t save companies money….”
Writes Hiltzik, “Despite these emerging data, the Kaiser Family Foundation has calculated that more than half of all companies with more than 200 workers offer health screening programs; 8% of those offer an incentive to participate or a penalty for refusing.” Wellness can even backfire and harm employees through false positives, etc.
Corporate sponsors of wellness had the noblest of intentions. However, now it’s high time for corporations to take a good hard steely-eyed look at their wellness programs.
This is my mea culpa: in my career in managing benefits for large companies, i implemented programs that looked promising but didn’t work.When the facts showed they didn’t work I simply stopped them. The only thing worse than implementing a flawed program, is keeping it around when the facts show it is a failure.
Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price. Click here: Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.
Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of EdisonHealth. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.