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Central Maine Healthcare Channels Penn State

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Central Maine Healthcare  has combined the misanthropy of Penn State with the pay-to-play antics of the Koop Award Committee.  They’ve secretly hired their cronies to force their employees to get unneeded checkups provided mostly by their very own affiliated doctors.   On the bright side, there is some good news for Ron Goetzel:  following Honeywell, this is the second consecutive debacle in which he was not involved — though he is doing his best to keep Nebraska on the front page, even while attempting to erase his role in Penn State from the history books.


5 Comments

  1. Gmail says:

    Are you sure you know what ur talking about?

    Many health plans are using blood tests and physical exams to identify and treat chronic diseases earlier, and tracking progress, often with substantial $ incentives to set lifestyle goals to prevent or reduce chronic disease like diabetes to reduce healthcare costs and reduce suffering and progressive disability and co-morbidities…isn’t this a good thing?

    David Trindle

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    • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

      Hi David, thanks for posting. When Mae West said “too much of a good thing can be wonderful,” she wasn’t talking about screening. (I would tell you what she is talking about but my kids read this blog…) As a country we have entered an era where we screen and send people to the doctor far too often. This causes people to get diagnosed and treated for many “false positives.” Three of the books in the bibliography — ours, Overdiagnosed, and Seeking Sickness — describe how this works. (Ours is the funniest…and Christmas is right around the corner. It’s a terrible gift for people you don’t like.) There is also a group called the US Preventive Services Task Force, that sets intervals for screening which balance possible insights, false positives and other factors but not cost. Those intervals for the most part are far less often than Central Maine is screening. I’ll continue in the next comment.

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      • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

        4 quick wrap-ups to your question. First, those false positives usually overwhelm true ones — p 86 of Surviving Workplace Wellness shows how most finger-stick vendor positives are false. Second, just look at the Central Maine data. They say about a third of people are at risk for something like a heart attack (which is really the point of the exercise since unlike other things it’s immediate), and yet the Maine heart attack rate in the commercially insured population is more like 1 in 800. So being “at risk” is pretty meaningless, not to mention that many heart attacks are suffered by people with no risk factors AND the biggest risk factor is smoking, which doesn’t need to be screened for, followed by family history, which you are not allowed to screen for. Hence the worthlessness of screens. Third, to your point about being able to change behavior once you “know” your risks, the USPS Task Force recommendations take into account the likelihood that “knowing” these risks gets people to address them, which rarely happens. Obviously if everyone at risk addressed their risk factors, no one would smoke. Finally, now you see why the vendors need to lie: it simply isn’t possible to save money by screening, so an honest vendor would go bankrupt.

        Once again, thanks for your comment — a good discussion,

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  2. Melissa says:

    Passed on this paragraph from the link above, this would appear to be a questionable program design. Here is the paragraph in question: Starting Jan. 1, workers and their adult family members must sign up with Edumedics if they use the system’s health insurance and have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If they don’t join Edumedics, they will be required to pay an additional $60 a month for health insurance.
    This would appear to my non-legal trained eye, to target members based on a health factor standard for additional requirements to earn the lower premium. Under the ACA guidelines you would need to offer members an alternative. I don’t see that mentioned so regardless of the ADA/EEOC perspective, this appears questionable.

    Like

    • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

      Good points. I’m surprised the EEOC isn’t on this like a pit bull on a poodle. (20 points for anyone who can source that phrase.) They need an employee to complain first, though. It’s not just ADA, though that too. I think it’s also GINA because spouses are involved. I guess Central Maine is getting its legal advice from the same attorney who told them that it was a good idea to outsource wellness to the president’s cronies.

      Like

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