Do you know anyone who is actually in a “pry, poke and prod” wellness program run by one of the 50 vendors “profiled” on this site? If so, try asking them what they think…and then compare those opinions to what the vendors want them to think. A few tidbits of the latter are listed below:
- Wellness Workdays–selected by none other than the author of the now hilariously discredited “Harvard Study” as the very model of a modern clueless wellness vendor — says: “Employees like wellness programs…These initiatives make employees feel like their employers care.”
- LivingHealthy.com uses “science-based facts” to say: “The truth of the matter is that employees like wellness programs.”
- Why stop at “like”? Virgin Pulse says: “Employees love wellness programs.” And another vendor says: “Employees love wellness programs because they feel cared for by the company.”
But none of these vendors ever ask the flesh-and-blood employees how they feel. Turns out there’s an excellent reason for that: employees hate “pry, poke and prod” programs. Here are four sets of vignettes to that effect.
- Last month, we collected some comments from an article in Slate about wellness. Just when we thought the news cycle on that article had run, more employees weighed in. Still, those are just comments, not in-depth experiences.
- Getting into the belly of the beast, Vik Khanna posted a ten-part series on the Provant program he and his wife were forced to submit to subject to a major forfeiture. This program sucked up 6 hours of his time and provided tidbits like “drink 8 glasses of water a day,” which of course is a total myth . This myth dates from a misinterpreted finding from 1945. It is now perpetuated only by some wellness vendors (not all of them — incredibly a few have now procured internet connections), as well as presumably Poland Spring, Aquafina, Dasani, Kohler and American Standard. Obviously if the human race were that dehydrated we would have gone extinct long ago.
- In addition to Vik’s regular journal entries, every now and then, someone writes in detailing their own experience in being forced to submit to one of these programs. Here is one of our favorites, someone complaining about Optum’s program. No wonder Optum is so opposed to the Employee Health Code of Conduct. I’d be opposed too, if I offered Optum’s program.
- Finally, here is the program du jour. In their alleged attempts to create a culture of health, these vendors are creating cultures of resentment, distrust, and deceit. We’re copying-and-pasting the opening paragraphs of this rant, but would encourage you to click through to the whole thing.
News Flash, The Dodo Bird is Still Alive
Well another year has rolled around and I was talking to the person who’s experience with their wellness program I had discussed below. Lo and behold, the problems I had originally documented continue unabated. This is a common example, and explains why so many wellness programs should be discontinued.
It was time for next years enrollment period for her insurance and she needed to get a number of points, schedule a coaching visit and get her biometrics and lab work completed to qualify for the premium differential.
The lab work requirement upset her as she had just gotten all the lab work done by her PCP the month earlier, but no, those lab results couldn’t be used. So the vendor repeated all the lab work her PCP had done and more, most of which were absolutely unnecessary based upon USPSTF guidelines. But hey let’s go ahead and waste some money and do a few unnecessary tests. That’s become the norm for many a wellness program.
So heart warming to see your emails come in. I know its going to be another gut punch to the industry. It’s like a boxing match which is won rarely by a knockout but, by raining blows on your opponent round after round. All i can say is, make it rain Al, make it rain.
Well, as Jacob Riis said about the stonecutter hammering away 100 times without so much as a crack, and then on the 101st blow it will split in two, and he will know that it wasn’t the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Ours is the all-time worst, or I used to think so until I started reading your stuff. Everyone lies, everyone disses them, everyone wonders what idiots approved this crap.
if it were mathematically possible for all wellness programs to be worse than average, they would be.