As part of the cover-up of Health Fitness Corporation falsely claiming to save the lives of 514 Nebraskans with cancer, someone doctored their Koop Award application to remove the evidence of that claim and replace it with a literally and figuratively much more benign statement. For reasons described below, this may not even be legal. We are offering our assistance to Ron Goetzel to help him find the perp.
What would Dr. Koop say?
After Health Fitness Corporation (HFC) admitted lying about saving the lives of 514 alleged Nebraskan cancer victims who turned out never to have had cancer in the first place as part of their Koop Award-winning wellness program, someone tampered with their original award application to try to erase that lie. The “514 early-stage cancers” they claim to have cured morphed into “514 polyps.”
At the 2015 Great Debate, Ron Goetzel (who runs the Koop Award Committee) insisted that the Koop Committee knew nothing of the original lie about finding 514 cases of cancer, even though that line appeared twice in the original Koop Award application. The Koop Award Committee also saw nothing suspicious in HFC’s marketing materials, which, incredibly, still resided on the HFC website for years after HFC was outed. HFC finally took it down, an obvious admission of guilt on their part (to go with the actual admission in the newspaper), given how much they had ballyhooed it in the past. Naturally we have copies of the entire “case study” if anyone would like one.
Admittedly, that original lie was a little hard to spot in that case study. You needed to actually open your eyes:
And a lot of people did open their eyes. The claim made its way into Google…and all the way to CalPERS:
The Koop Committee missed this, though. Claiming to know nothing and see nothing — the Sergeant Schultz defense — is a Koop Committee favorite. However, the initial oversight doesn’t explain why Ron has called Nebraska a “best practice” three times even after he was shocked, shocked to learn that lying was going on in here.
I want to be very clear: we are not accusing Ron Goetzel of sneaking back in and rewriting the original applications (including forging a section of a letter from the governor of Nebraska) to cover up the lies told by Health Fitness Corporation, which sponsors his award. He could lose his job at Johns Hopkins if he did, so he wouldn’t. Quite the opposite, both of us would want to get to the bottom of this!
Clearly, though, someone with the same coverup agenda and with the same access to the same Koop Award site rewrote the original HFC/Nebraska award application. Specifically, someone replaced “514 new cases of early-stage cancers” with these employees having only “benign polyps” in order to make it consistent with the denial that the Committee knew anything about HFC’s lie:
Owing to the previous doctoring of original evidence in the Koop Award (for which Ron Goetzel did admit responsibility), we now know to keep screenshots of originals. Note the difference in the last sentences. The original is claiming “514 new cases…of cancer” below. This is the original that Mr. Goetzel insists did not appear in the application. And yet, here it is.
This bungled evidence-tampering shows our book, Surviving Workplace Wellness, is right: “In wellness you don’t have to challenge the data to invalidate it. You merely have to read the data. It will invalidate itself.”
The doctored paragraph has now replaced the original paragraph in both places where it appears. Ours is the only extant copy of the original screenshot. We learned long ago that you need to capture screenshots because these people always cover their tracks when they get caught lying. And since most of wellness is a lie, they have a veritable Pennsylvania Station of tracks to cover.
The perpetrator is in a lot of trouble: In the application, this altered phrase appears in a letter from then- Governor Heineman’s office in support of the Koop Award. Obviously that’s not legal. The reason we assume Ron Goetzel didn’t do it is because he would have had to get permission from Johns Hopkins, and they would not have let him forge official state documents while using their affiliation in his title.
Goetzel’s History of Rewriting History
We don’t know who the perpetrator is, but one reason to doubt that Ron Goetzel is the guilty party is that he was already caught doctoring original Koop applications, and it wasn’t fun for him. Hence, one could assume he would be unlikely to do the same thing again.
So Mr. Goetzel is a victim here too because of the Koop Award’s shattered credibility. He should be as horrified as we are, and we should work together on this, and offer our help. We urge, demand, insist that as the leader of this committee, Ron Goetzel get to the bottom of this! He needs to find out who tampered with this letter from the Governor, turn him in to Nebraska authorities if indeed that is illegal, apologize, and rescind that Koop Award.
We can’t investigate this ourselves without his cooperation. Even if we knew who it was, we can’t convene the wellness industry ethics committee because in wellness, there is no ethics committee. That’s because in wellness, as this website has repeatedly shown, there are no ethics.