With all the incompetence, innumeracy, illiteracy and downright dishonesty we’ve documented in this field and with all the employee dissatisfaction, revolts and lawsuits, one can’t help but wonder: Why?
Why would any employer do this to their employees?
Why aren’t vendors held to minimal standards of competence?
Why do vendors and consultants caught lying simply double down on the lies and/or ignore questions about their lies–knowing full well they’ll get away with it because workplace wellness has nothing to do with actual wellness so no one cares that it doesn’t work?
Why are benefits consultants allowed to lie about outcomes for their partnered vendors?
Why, after they get caught lying, do they win awards for those very same outcomes?
Why doesn’t anyone care that much of what they say and do is wrong?
Why doesn’t anyone care that poking employees with needles far more than the USPSTF advises produces no savings?
Why put up with the morale hit from disgruntled employees and possible lawsuits?
Bravo to Bravo for admitting the reason: It’s to claw back insurance money from employees by making programs so unappealing and requirements so onerous that many employees would rather forfeit their money than have anything to do with them. Here are Bravo’s exact words:
You might say, they don’t actually “admit” it. Well, obviously they aren’t going to skywrite it. But how else would one interpret this comment? Obviously they aren’t going to save money right away by “playing doctor” and poking employees with needles. Especially because they aren’t even adhering to legitimate preventive services guidelines, such as those from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
They also still subscribe to the urban legend that 75% of an employer’s spending is lifestyle-related, even though that myth has long since been discredited as meaningless and misleading for employers.
Creatinine and thyroid screens are not recommended by the USPSTF, so they shouldn’t be done at all, let alone provide the basis for claiming savings. So, we have eliminated everything except the obvious: employers get to collect fines for employees who care too much about their health and/or their dignity to submit to Bravo’s offer to play doctor.
This is the classic example of wellness done to employees instead of for them. The Bravo website is sprinkled with discussions of appeals processes for employees who face punishments for the crime of weighing too much and/or other personal shortcomings having nothing to do with work performance (and precious little to do with healthcare spending during the working years)…but everything to do with transfering wealth back to the owners.
As is our policy, we offered Bravo a chance — and $1000 — to provide an alternate explanation in a timely way, which they didn’t. Two differences between that forfeiture and Bravo’s punishments: Bravo lost their $1000 (of our money) for simply being unwilling to jot down a few words, whereas they brag about fining employees $1000 (of their money) for not being able to lose weight and keep it off, which is far harder than writing down a few words. And the other difference about the $1000? Having just raised $22-million, Bravo won’t miss it.
August Update: As a result of this expose, Bravo has taken all this stuff off their website. They no longer brag about fining employees, they no longer discuss their appeals process at length on their site and they no longer pitch their D-rated lab tests like creatinine and thyroid. This is typical vendor behavior after getting caught. Score one for They Said What.