You may recall Phantom Tollbooth, a classic of children’s literature. Among other things, the book features a dish called “subtraction stew,” where the more you eat, the hungrier you get. Likewise the more cancer cases Corporate Care Management (CCM) finds, the more money they save.
With math like that, it’s no wonder that 5% of their case study population of 600 was told they have cancer or precancer. And that was just in 2015 alone.
In Casablanca, Captain Renault told Major Strasser: “Owing to the seriousness of this crime I’ve instructed my men to round up twice the usual number of suspects.” Turns out Inspector Renault had nothing on CCM. In a typical year maybe 0.2% of the working-age population would get a valid cancer diagnosis for the cancers they screen for. That means CCM rounded up 25 times the number of usual suspects. To put this in perspective, at this rate we’d all get diagnosed with cancer twice during a 40-year career.
And the savings? Over $20,000 per alleged cancer victim. That means CCM saved more than $1000 per covered employee, which is more than most employers spend on cancer — simply by finding more cancer cases to spend money on. (Care for a second helping of Subtraction Stew?) And, yes, of course, this screening includes the USPSTF D-rated prostate screens, a staple of the wellness industry.
This cancer-finding is all accomplished on the basis of a letter-writing campaign. (For instance, men were instructed on three different occasions in 2015 to get their prostates screened.)
One other nuance: the 5% cancer incidence rate — 30 people — is based on the total 600 employees. Yet the company sent out only 146 “welcome packets,” meaning that less than a quarter of the employees actually responded to the letters. Of those 146, almost a quarter (30) allegedly had cancer or precancer. This proportion even tops the previous high for cancer hyperdiagnosis, which was the Nebraska wellness program (before Ron Goetzel and Health Fitness Corporation admitted they had made the whole thing up).
While it wasn’t clear what the other 454 people did with those letters, here is a question for your consideration: would you even open a letter with a return address of: “Corporate Care Management” ? As a patient, those are three words I hope never to see adjacent to one another over the course of my natural lifetime.
Lest I forget, here is what the actual letter looked like. I don’t know about you, but if I ever received letters with this design from an outfit with this name, I’d get a restraining order.
And apparently I’m not the only one who would prefer to be left alone. The Maytag repairmen used to be the loneliest people on earth.
But CCM’s nurses might give them a run for their money. Here are the utilization statistics they presented to this very same client with 600 employees:
Yes, that’s correct. they completed one conversation. Although that may be because the other 599 employees are too worried that if they talk to these people, they’ll get treated for cancer so CCM can save even more money.