It simply isn’t news any more when a publication aimed at the human resources market publishes an article slamming wellness. It just means a reporter (Bruce Shutan in this case) is actually reporting the facts, rather than assuming a “false equivalence” between wellness critics and wellness apologists. While reporters “take sides” frequently these days in wellness, it’s a rarity when writing on other topics. Normally, reporters use “he said-she said” because a good rule of thumb is that most but not all debates do indeed have two sides. The exceptions to that rule are wellness,* evolution, and Trump University.
Below are the article’s highlights.
Our $1-million reward has gone unclaimed.
Obviously, if the Wellness Ignorati–and we are reviving that phrase by popular demand (for the uninitiated, it means wellness apologists who knowingly ignore facts in order to snooker) — really thought that “pry, poke and prod” programs work, they would have claimed it by now.
Wellness vendors deliberately flout guidelines to make more money
If they were to adhere to US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, they would be screening appropriately–but make much less money. Optum’s Seth Serxner stood up on camera to blame employers for making Optum flout the guidelines, while HealthMine takes great pride in their ignorance of them. Either way, employees and employers lose.
Ron Goetzel is still flogging weight loss as the answer to an employer’s health cost problems
We aren’t listing everything wrong with Mr. Goetzel’s position, in order to leave space on the internet for other things, such as Google and Amazon.
In a nutshell, according to:
- his own awards that he gives to his friends,
- the Vitality Group (that he is on the board of, but which couldn’t even get their own employees to lose weight), and
- Health Affairs…
…employee weight loss programs don’t work.
He is also still calling McKesson a best practice in wellness, even though their employees gained weight (as noted below), their glucose increased (ditto) and their analytics consultant speaks in tongues.
Additionally, according to his own company’s data compiled for the federal government, even if these crash-dieting contests did work, they would have a trivial effect on health spending, which is mostly unrelated to an employee’s weight in any event. Ron has also backed off his 3-to-1 ROI claims and is now down to 1-to-1 as a goal.
HERO is caught telling the truth
HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization — truly the belly of the wellness beast, led by Paul Terry, Ron Goetzel and Seth Serxner) said wellness loses money. Being the one instance in which a wellness organization has told the truth, naturally they tried to walk it back. First, they said, with a straight face, they fabricated their data. They said we should substitute real data for this admittedly fabricated data. We did–and the losses skyrocketed. Then they circulated a “poison pen” letter to the media in which they blamed me for reading their report carefully.
In any event, their argument was undone when the state of Connecticut admitted they lost more than a dollar for every dollar they spent on the program.
And make sure to read to the end–Quizzify is presented as part of the solution.
A bit of a “correction” is in order here, because the article is slightly inaccurate. Please see the Quizzify landing page for the very specific language vis-a-vis Quizzify and Harvard Medical School. Harvard Medical School doesn’t “partner” with vendors. We are the only population health company that is even allowed to use their shield at all.
*Maybe I can’t judge wellness fairly. The Wellness Ignorati would accuse me of bias due to my heritage–my parents were smart.