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Red Meat 1, World Health Organization 0

Number of deaths attributable to eating processed meat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): 34,000

Number of people struck by lightning annually: 240,000

And yet the WHO generated a huge headline by saying that eating red and processed meat could increase your risk of colon cancer by 18%.

Let us assume that they are right.  (And we will let the trade associations debate them on the scientific merits of that 34,000 figure.)  Even if they are right, this is a perfect example of confusing an increase in relative risk of one disease with absolute risk of dying.  To use the lightning example, you probably have a 1-in-a-billion chance of being struck by lightning if a thunderclap is audible but the sky above is clear.  Some states close public pools when that happens.  If the sky above is clear but you can see lightning in the distance, your odds of getting struck may jump to 1-in-100,000,000.  That’s a 10-times relative increase, but only a 9-in-a-billion absolute increase.   So these states inconvenience parents and fidgety kids for basically no reason other than misunderstanding relative and absolute risk.

To make matters worse, the WHO conflates the risk of smoking and asbestos with red meat. Both the former cause perhaps something like an 18% increase in age-adjusted death rates in total, not an 18% increase in one form of cancer.  The difference?  Probably about a thousand times in total, unvarnished, absolute risk.

Yes, I know it’s not always about me, but this is exactly what Quizzify teaches.  Newscasters who had taken the Quizzify quiz (and relative-vs-absolute risk is in the advanced level…but they are newscasters so they should get to that level) would have led with the headline: “WHO Demonstrates No Understanding of Health” instead of “You Could Die from Eating Red Meat”.

Quizzify Q in B and W

The absolute risk of getting bad information from Quizzify is very low.

That’s it for now.  Funny thing, I used to be a quasi-vegetarian because I was concerned about the impact of red meat and processed meats on my colon cancer risk.  But anyone who understands health research would read this the same way I do: it’s OK to live on the edge. Don’t deprive yourself of red meat for this reason.  I myself am headed out for a burger. Not just any burger but a bacon burger.  In the immortal words of the great philosopher Sammy Davis Jr., I’ve got a lot of living to do.

Deja Vu All Over Again, Again: Koop Award Channels Sergeant Schultz

In keeping yet again with the Koop Award tradition of bestowing awards upon themselves, the 2015 award went to one of Ron Goetzel’s own clients, McKesson.  Curiously, not one but two other Koop Award sponsors (Alere and Vitality) are also listed as McKesson wellness vendors.  This new record for undisclosed Koop sponsor self-awarding would make Nero proud.

And in keeping yet again with the Koop Award committee’s tradition of not noticing invalidating mistakes, none of what you are about to read — not one single invalid, mathematically impossible or self-contradictory datapoint that were all self-evident — was noticed by any of the Koop Award Committee members.  They saw nothing. Our previous Koop Committee posting, entitled Koop Award Committee Meets Sergeant Schultz, seems presciently titled indeed.

Highlights of Risk Reduction and Wellness Activities

McKesson employees attended 160,000 Weight Watchers meetings.  McKesson claims their employees collectively lost 24,000 pounds. That’s about 2.5 ounces lost per meeting for all attendees combined.

mckesson weight watchers

So if 10 people attended the average meeting, literally the amount of weight each lost (0.25 ounces) could be accounted for by walking to and from the meeting room, plus maybe a sneeze or two.  Here’s a surprise:  Weight Watchers has been a total failure in the corporate weight control market.  Truven and McKesson must have missed this memo.

Oh, and did we mention that this weight-loss figure is self-reported, doesn’t count dropouts, and apparently contradicts McKesson’s own screening results — in which employees actually gained weight? (See below)

As the chart below shows, McKesson showed roughly a 2% decline across all risk factors, in the half of the company willing to be measured. The other half of the employee population declined to participate despite massive incentives. This is typical because employees hate wellness so much that even the biggest bribes can’t generate participation.  So that 2% risk reduction amongst the 50% of repeat participants means – optimistically assuming the half who dropped out or didn’t participate stayed the same risk-wise – a 1% reduction in risk factors for McKesson as a whole.

Some other curiosities about this chart below that no one noticed.  First, only 1% of its employees have an “elevated” risk of being a problem drinker, not bad for a company that used to be in the liquor distribution business.  By contrast, the rest of the country’s alcoholism rate is 4.7% (women) or 9.4% (men) — and that’s an actual diagnosis of alcohol use disorder, not simply “elevated” risk.

Second, despite 160,000 Weight Watchers meetings and the 0.25 ounces each participant lost, the average employee who bothered to show up twice to be weighed-in actually gained weight.  So which is it? Did they lose weight or gain weight?

Answer: they gained weight. Participants always outperform non-participants, and when you recombine the two groups, you always show that performance by participants is a misleading indicator of actual overall performance by everyone in total.

This is true even when there isn’t a program to participate in, or even when the program itself is ineffective.

Third, despite McKesson’s claims of smoking cessation, note that a large chunk of employees refused cotinine (nicotine) testing. So 27% of employees self-reported tobacco use but only 9% of those willing to be tested were positive for tobacco use.  27% of employees admitting tobacco use might be a record for a company winning a wellness award.  It’s about 9 points higher than the national average.

Finally, McKesson — reading datapoints off this very chart — claims a 9% reduction in risk, using the simple expedient of ignoring the people whose risk factors increased.  This fallacy is the classic way to overstate savings.  We call it “Lake Wobegon meets wellness” because everyone improves in this calculation. Still, we’ve never seen evaluators simply ignore the people getting worse when the data was right in front of them like this.

The Koop Committee reviewers somehow ignored or overlooked all of these things, and yet still they wonder why they are known as the Wellness Ignorati.  Ah, well, as Tom Friedman wrote: “We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t ignore facts that dash our hopes upon the cliffs of reality.”

mckesson chart

This 1% risk reduction across the population generated more than $13,000,000 in gross savings.  McKesson’s graph below shows it spends about $4000 for each of its 45,000 eligible adults—or roughly $180,000,000 overall (excluding dependents). That means a 1% risk reduction creates a 7% spending reduction.

Using that logic, a 14% risk reduction would save 14 times as much–or $180,000,000, enough to wipe out all of McKesson’s healthcare spending, using the McKesson/Goetzel math.

mckesson cost reduction

The Dog that Didn’t Bark in the Nighttime

What makes this even more of a head-scratcher is that most people and organizations on this award committee – and a large number of the vendors and consultants involved in McKesson – also produced the HERO Outcomes Guidelines Report, which is quite insistent that the wellness-sensitive medical event rate (“potentially preventable hospitalizations” as they call them) be tallied as the only indicator of wellness program success, since no other costs decline and probably actually increase:

HERO other costs increase

And yet no one noticed this event rate wasn’t disclosed — despite the insistence of everyone on the committee in this HERO report that these events are the only element of cost reduced by wellness.

Quizzify Q in B and W

Your employees will know NOTHING if you don’t Quizzify your workplace!

Had this rate been disclosed, Sergeant Schultz himself – or even a Koop Award Committee member — might actually have noticed that the decline (if any) in these events would account for roughly 1% of McKesson’s claimed savings from wellness, about $12/person/year.  The other 99%?  Those are what we call the “wishful thinking multiplier,” which is the basis for all savings reported by the wellness industry.


Part 2 of the Proof: Even If Wellness Could Save Money, It Doesn’t

Recently we promised a Part 2 to our original proof that wellness savings are mathematically impossible. Commenters said: “How can you have a Part 2 to a proof?  You just proved it.”

Read on.

The previous proof showed wellness can’t save money, even if programs were perfect. This installment proves that even if wellness could save money, it hasn’t.  Meaning even if wellness were free, it couldn’t pay for itself.  So this proof is independent of the previous proof.  For wellness to save money, the wellness true believers would have to find fallacies in both proofs.  Either is sufficient to make our case…but we have both.

Quite literally, forcing employees to “do wellness” or lose money has avoided basically zero wellness-sensitive medical events in the 13 years ending 2013 (2014 data isn’t in yet), according to the federal government.  If the name “federal government” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the very same federal government that has passed a law encouraging vendors to pitch “pry, poke and prod” programs to you despite their complete lack of evidence basis, lack of effectiveness, and potential for harm.

Here is the way our analysis was done.  We used the government database called the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, or HCUP. That database tracks all hospitalizations due to all causes, by population.  So it is possible to focus on just the commercially insured population, which they call “privately insured.”

The privately insured population is 100% sensitive, meaning everyone whose workplace “offers” wellness is in that database.  The database isn’t specific, meaning plenty of people in it do not have access to wellness.  Nonetheless, the dramatic increase over the 13 years in the number of people whose employers push wellness should produce an equally dramatic decrease in wellness-sensitive medical events.  While wellness was rare at the start of this analysis in 2001, today most large companies, nonprofits, and governments have wellness. In total, one can project from the Kaiser Family Foundation data that about 75-million people (or roughly half of all privately insured people) are subject to what Jon Robison has termed wellness-or-else.

Keep in mind that all hospitalizations have been declining over this 13-year period, due to shifts to outpatient, better usual care, etc.  So the question is not whether WSMEs have been declining, but whether they have been declining faster than the rates of all other hospitalizations in combination due to the large and increasing “dose” of wellness” being applied to them.

Instead, as you can see, these WSME admissions have trended essentially flat over the period, as a percentage of all admissions.  In other words, there is no difference between the decline in admissions for WSMEs – despite $7-billion/year being spent on vendors to prevent them – and the declines in every other category of hospitalization.  13 years ago about 6.9% of events were wellness-sensitive.  Now it’s about 7.0%.  (This is 2013. 2014 is also in, for our customers for whom we track WSMEs, and shows no change.)

This is based on ICD9s 401-405, 410, 430-438, and 250 — strokes, hypertensive events, heart attacks, and diabetes events.


To make the point visual, the “dose” of wellness probably quintupled, in total, over this period, so the directional expectation of the chart would be:

Prima facie, the debate is over, again, just like it was over after our last proof.

Needless to say, the true believers aren’t about to give up their revenue stream just because we’ve double-proved they’re fabricating savings.  They will make two arguments against this proof of their own ineffectiveness.  First, they’ll argue that wellness reduces all events and other costs equally, so really we should credit wellness for the total cost reduction, not the reduction in just wellness-sensitive admissions.  This might seem like a pollyannish view of wellness, but wellness true believers attribute everything that’s good to wellness. True believer Bruce Sherman has even argued that wellness actually reduces industrial waste, so to a wellness true believer, eating more spinach makes every employee a Popeye.

Unfortunately for Bruce and others, the wellness industry’s own HERO report says wellness can only reduce WSMEs.  Other costs go up, it says:

HERO other costs increase

Second, one could argue that there isn’t enough penetration of wellness yet to bend this trend, since the HCUP privately insured population includes tons of people without access to wellness, and even many people with wellness access refuse to participate.

Unfortunately, that argument self-immolates.  Vendor fees are $7 billion.  All these WSME ICD9s combined (using the HERO-estimated admission cost of $22,500) amount to about $11.3 billion. That $11.3 billion includes the half of privately insured people who don’t have access to wellness.   Already, when you cut that figure in half to account for those employees with employers who’ve decided not to “do wellness” to them, the $7 billion size of the wellness industry exceeds the size of avoidable events ($5.7 billion). This is consistent with our first proof, which showed the same thing, but on an individual company level.  Now—assuming participation is 50%, you need to cut the WSME hospitalization total in half once again.  You’re down to $2.85 billion in potentially avoidable events — that companies are spending $7 billion on vendors to avoid.

So, no matter how you look at it, “pry, poke and prod” programs have been singularly ineffective in reducing WSMEs.  And if the HERO Guide is right that these are the only admissions wellness can avoid (while other costs increase, as they admit), wellness does not and cannot save money.

Instead, wellness-or-else is basically a pile of, um, industrial waste.

Anyone still want to try to claim the million-dollar reward for showing pry, poke and prod programs aren’t a total waste of resources?  I didn’t think so.

Quizzify Q in B and W

The thing most likely to save money is knowledge.

Note:  This graphical analysis is copyright 2015 to Quizzify.  However, any disinterested researcher or journalist may request a copy of the backup material from us.

Total Wellness: The Best Argument for Regulating the Wellness Industry

Total Wellness, having been “profiled” on this blog for being second only to Star Wellness in “playing doctor” with inappropriate employee screening, isn’t about to lose this race to the bottom without a fight.

So in order to try to out-stupid Star Wellness, Total is offering yet another test (they are now up to 8) either rated D by the United States Preventive Services Task Force or (in the case of Chem-20s and Complete Blood Counts) not rated as preventive screens at all because [WARNING: Spoiler Alert]: these two aren’t preventive screens. They are tests, but Total Wellness apparently doesn’t know the difference between a screen and a test.  

For those of you who also don’t know it — and you aren’t required to because you’re not poking employees with needles to fulfill your mother’s fantasy of you becoming a doctor — a screen is done wholesale on everyone in order to hunt for disease and then brag about how many sick people you found.   You’ll find plenty if you force employees to either participate or forfeit lots of money.  Like Total Wellness says, you need to be “stern” about making employees submit to these worthless and harmful screens.  And being “stern” means it’s wellness–or else:

By contrast, a test is what a real doctor might order — if an actual patient presents with relevant symptoms. Chem-20s and CBCs haven’t been used as screens for decades. Even the professional organization whose physician members get paid to perform them doesn’t recommend them. “These tests rarely identify clinically significant problems when performed routinely on an outpatient population.

Here is Total Wellness’s Totally Inappropriate Screen #8, along with the USPSTF grade:

total wellness pulmonary function

USPSTF spirometry

Doctors routinely performing and billing these 8 “preventive” screens could and should lose their licenses.  The good news for Total Wellness is that they aren’t going to lose their license for inappropriately screening employees, for the simple reason that you don’t need a license in order to inappropriately screen employees.

Quite the contrary.  Unlike in regular grown-up type healthcare, in the wellness industry any idiot can perform these screens and tests as long as that idiot can find an even bigger idiot willing to pay for them.

Quizzify Q in B and W

Do your employees know what screening tests are actually worthwhile & which ones are scams?

Is this a great country or what?

By the way, if you haven’t read the originals  for Total Wellness or Star Wellness, you’re in for a treat.  Some of our best work.  Helps to have such great material to start with.

NBGH: Wellness Programs Aim for the Wrong Target…And Miss

The following is a guest post by George D. Burns. George is an employee benefits and tax Consultant who has developed the Burns ERP, which significantly reduces the costs of providing employee health benefits. He can be reached at  He is also a frequent Top Contributor to many LinkedIn groups and is a message board moderator at


The truth about wellness programs was revealed at the recent NBGH conference. Two studies in combination explain both that wellness fails and why wellness fails.

The first was a Towers Watson survey showing that wellness fails because employees don’t like it.  (In the wellness industry, this counts as an insight.)  In contrast to every other study showing high satisfaction among participants–who of course are largely “satisfied” by the money–this one surveyed all employees, not just participants. It showed that 52% of employees did not participate in even a single wellness program or activity. Employers offered a maximum of $880 but paid out an average of $365 with 40% of employees receiving $0.  “[Employees] feel like it’s too hard or not worth it, or that it adds unneeded complexity to their lives.” said Shelly Wolff, a consultant at Towers. “Whatever the reason, it’s a big disengagement number.”

The second, an employee poll at Bright Horizons LLC, showed why wellness fails.  Wellness programs have failed because they targeted the wrong goals with the result that — even if employees had been interested when cash was offered and even if the program had been successful — a conventional wellness program would have little impact on well-being.

Specifically, this employee poll showed that physical health, the highly profitable obsession of wellness vendors and consultants, counts for only 5% of employee well-being — far less than job satisfaction, stress, financial wellness and personal issues.

Further, “physical health” was a catch-all category including current acute issues such as colds and back pain, not just chronic major issues like diabetes or heart disease or “risk factors” that are the focus of wellness programs.  So even the 5% figure dramatically overstated the impact of risk factors on well-being.

So we’ve found two more reasons wellness vendors need to falsify their results to stay in business.  According to the Bright Horizons study, they are chasing the wrong goal to begin with…and according to TowersWatson, they are failing at chasing the wrong goal.

Quizzify Q in B and W

Your employees will love Quizzify. Because it works and it’s fun

One recalls the old Woody Allen joke about the two old ladies in the Catskills. One says, “You know, the food here is terrible.”  The other replies: “Yes, and the portions are so small.”


They Said What? makes list of three top healthcare websites

OK, so maybe this news got pushed off the front page by the other prizes announced this week, but They Said What? made the list of Tom Emerick’s three favorite websites.

TSW occupies a unique niche, Rachel Carson-meets-wellness-meets-Dave Barry.  As an added bonus, all of our wellness statements are true, which makes us unique in the field (and explains why we have been blacklisted by many conference organizations).

Most importantly, we are in august company with the other two selected sites.  Not Running a Hospital and The Doctor Weighs In are both take-no-prisoners websites as well, and we recommend both.

Disclosure:  I co-authored Cracking Health Costs with Tom Emerick.  I don’t exactly expect a Nobel Prize for integrity here for simply pointing that out, but typically wellness vendors don’t disclose things like, oh, I don’t know, sponsoring the committee that gives their customers awards or even mentioning that the program they are “applauding” is their own.  Although in this case — Health Fitness Corporation and Nebraska — full disclosure would have also required them to admit that the entire thing was made up.  And therein lies the problem wellness vendors face.  In wellness, ethics is more than just a slippery slope.  It’s more like Half Dome coated with WD40.



Wellness isn’t only junk science. It’s also junk arithmetic.

Vendors of “pry, poke and prod” programs often wax rhapsodic about “Wellness 2.0.” Translation:  HRA-screening-checkup programs have historically failed.  Likewise, vendors talk about how more “wellness champions” or better “communications plans” or higher incentives/penalties are needed to make wellness work–as though it’s HR’s fault vendors are misrepresenting what their programs can do.

Unfortunately for those vendors, tinkering with wellness is like tinkering with alchemy.  Nothing can turn “pry, poke and prod” lead into gold.  Understanding that wellness is alchemy is why we’ve offered the million-dollar reward…and also why that reward has had no takers.  Wellness outcomes measurement is junk arithmetic, to go with the junk science of screening the stuffing out of employees in order to hyperdiagnose them.  All told, vendored wellness is the kind of junk that gives junk a bad name.

We’ve covered the junk science at length, showing how vendor after vendor ignores clinical guidelines either because they don’t understand healthcare or because they want to maximize profits.  Today we are covering junk arithmetic.

Here is Part One of the very simple mathematical proof of why “pry, poke and prod” can’t possibly save money.  All this information comes from the wellness industry’s own materials, notably the HERO Outcomes Guidelines Report.  They can’t “challenge the data” because it’s their data. All we’ve done is fashion it into a proof.

The Size of the Pie:  “Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations” (PPHs)

The HERO Report places the current PPH rate at 2.62 per 1000.   (It was once higher — 3.14, as noted below — but usual care improvements continue to reduce admissions for both asthma and cardio/IVD, reducing the need for wellness even as vendors insist that all your employees are getting sicker.)


That same page (23) of that same report lists the episode costs of a PPH at $22,500.


The product of those two components?  About $59,000 per 1000 people, or $59/person.

And alas you can forget about adding other healthcare cost savings from wellness to that $59.  That’s wishful thinking.  The Goetzel crowd not only admits they don’t decrease, but says they are likely to increase (p.22)

HERO other costs increase

The Cost of Wellness

Against that $59, what is the cost of a wellness program? $150/employee, according to Ron Goetzel.   (Your cost could be higher or lower, obviously.  Wellness vendors collect about $7 billion by prying, poking and prodding about 70 million people, so typical vendor fees are about $100.)

Therefore even a wellness program that eliminates every potentially preventable hospitalization without increasing doctor visits or those other listed expenses would lose money–$91, if Mr. Goetzel’s advice is taken.

And this is according to the wellness industry’s own cost figures, which of course are highly suspect, largely because their costs count vendor fees only.  Our figures would add in all the other costs of wellness.  Though the HERO Report ignored these other costs in its own calculations, it nonetheless listed them on p 11.  (This list overlooks the hefty consulting fees involved in making up positive outcomes figures to show to the C-Suite.  This is no surprise given that Mercer was a co-sponsor of this report.)

HERO list of costs

Quizzify Q in B and W

Want proof that Quizzify is more fun & smarter than any wellness program? Take the quiz.

Also remember that this $91 loss is for a perfect wellness program –one that eliminates all $59 in spending with no added preventive services cost.  Coming soon is the second half of the proof, showing that wellness programs are anything but perfect.


Is Bravo Wellness Running Out of Money?

USA Today and Kaiser Health News just published a terrific story on the hazards of overscreening, overtesting, and pry-poke-and-prod programs.

It revealed how screening all employees every year–and then sending them in for checkups –makes no sense on any level, and is contrary to all guidelines and literature.  All it does is lead to hyperdiagnosis.  Hyperdiagnosis is overdiagnosis on steroids.  Instead of being the unfortunate result of good-faith efforts to figure out what is wrong with a patient (that’s “overdiagnosis”), hyperdiagnosis is the breathless reporting by wellness vendors on how many sick employees a company has, and how they will have an “epidemic” of something-or-other unless they force employees to get coached etc.

Hyperdiagnosis is also, however, the wellness industry’s bread-and-butter, so naturally wellness vendors defend this practice.  In this article, Bravo Wellness CEO Jim Pshock was quoted as saying:  “The hope is that the program will get people to proactively see their physicians to manage their health risks. Yes, this will, hopefully, mean more prescription drug utilization and office visits, but fewer heart attacks and cancers and strokes.”

The only innocent explanation for this comment is that Bravo canceled its subscription to the internet to conserve cash.  Seems that all the literature, easily searchable online — plus Choosing Wisely — says that “proactive” annual checkups are a waste of time and money and will not prevent heart attacks and strokes, and certainly not cancers.  (They will, however, make drug use and physician office visit expense increase.  That much he got right.)  A quick Google search would have revealed that to him…if only he had access to Google.

This whole thing would be pretty amusing except that Bravo’s business model includes fining employees for not getting checkups that are more likely to harm them than benefit them, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.  Harming employees is where the joke ends.

Otherwise, the only other explanation for this comment is that he is — heaven forbid — lying.  And we would be pshocked, pshocked to learn that lying is going on in here!

Quizzify Q in B and W

Why would any smart person waste time & money on low-value medical care? Better not ask Bravo.

Therefore, since a wellness vendor would never lie, Mr. Pshock must have allowed his internet subscription to expire.  We’d urge all readers to donate early and often to Bravo Wellness to help them keep the lights on.



Expose of Corporate Weight-Shaming Programs Among Year’s Top Articles

surviving cover with no promotion

We published “Employers Should Disband Corporate Weight Control Programs,” in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Managed Care, in February.  We recently learned that it is trending close to #1 for the year among articles in this and related journals.  Its findings have never been challenged, with no critical comments or letters to the editor by wellness vendors or consultants.

If you struggle with weight, you are probably wondering why your employer appears to be discriminating against you by weight-shaming you.   The answer is that while a company would certainly want to facilitate employees’ desires to become healthier on their own, there is no economic basis for fining employees or withholding incentives based on weight.

It’s not just that the threat of financial forfeiture (penalties or lost incentives) doesn’t help people lose weight.  Here are highlights from the rest of the article:

(1) As ShapeUp has shown when confronted with the invalidity of its data (and being fired by Highmark as a result of it), vendors’ weight-loss figures are basically fabricated. Here is an article showing how that fabrication takes place, the “Last Man Standing” fallacy.

(2) Weight generally does not affect job performance.  At the CEO level, this is generally known.  That’s why when new factories are built, they tend to go up in states with lower wages and motivated (and non-union) workforces.  Those states also have the highest obesity rates, but that doesn’t matter when major corporate decisions are made.  CEOs, voting with their own dollars, have determined that these higher obesity rates have no noticeable effect on productivity.

(3) Weight also has only a trivial effect on healthcare expenses.  Extra spending that was once attributed to weight turns out to be due to age, as people get naturally heavier over time and naturally tend to spend more on healthcare.  Those two variables correlate but the actual causality is attributable to other factors.  Among older people, some extra weight may be protective, as well.

So three things need to be true for these discriminatory programs (age discrimination and class discrimination) to justify their existence.  The programs need to get people to lose weight, and weight has to matter somehow, in productivity and/or health spending.  Instead, none of those things are true.  So why engage in an activity that isn’t going to work, that embarrasses your employees?

We’d encourage you to read the article or at least the abstract, and pass it along to decision-makers.  And send us your stories–how has corporate weight-shaming affected your job performance, or the performance of people you know?

PS  And if Aetna comes a-knockin’ with the industry’s most expensive and most dangerous anti-obesity “wellness” jihad, don’t answer the door.  Here’s what will happen if you do.

Quizzify Q in B and W

Good health is not about weight-shaming. It’s about education.


Just because it’s healthcare, doesn’t mean it’s good for you

Wellness is about pushing employees into the healthcare system, almost always both against their will and their better judgment.  This story is a perfect example of the consequences of how too much healthcare can be hazardous to your health, and why your best defense against overdoctoring is knowledge.

Once you start asking questions, doctors have to start answering them.  While many doctors welcome that, others start fidgeting.  If your doctor is one of the latter, it’s probably time to switch.

I myself get occasional bladder tumors.  Ironically — and once again, showing the unintended consequences of wellness — I got bladder cancer from eating more broccoli, which of course is exactly what wellness programs would have us do.  (And which, in all fairness, is generally a good idea.)  The problem was that the broccoli was grown in a garden that was way too close to railroad ties, which leach creosote into the soil.  Creosote causes bladder tumors.

So every few years, one grows back and has to be scooped out “non-invasively” (that’s easy for the doctor to say).  And every year I go in and get checked, also “non-invasively”.  After my last check, the urologist — a new one, whom I had never seen before — suggested a CT scan of the kidneys and ureters.

I asked her why, and she said, because I had had bladder cancer for 15 years and never had this scan.

I replied: “Well, I founded a company, Quizzify, that educates on overutilization.  CT scans have 500 times the radiation of x-rays, and that particular set of views is likely to spot tumors on my adrenal glands that are completely clinically insignificant, and yet once spotted will be tracked and possibly removed, for no good reason other than that they are there.”

She said: “OK, why don’t we just start with a urinanalysis.”

Quizzify Q in B and W

Quizzify Q&A is your tool to save employees’ time & money

From a hazardous and likely counterproductive $1000 scan to a $10 urinalysis in 30 seconds.  That’s what knowledge is worth.



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