No sooner did I post Congressional Candidate Runs Hard Against Forced Wellness than I found another candidate doing exactly the same thing.
This candidate, Paul Kramschuster, is running for a school board in Kansas City. Here is his website. Teachers in that city’s Center School District have been harassed and forced into wellness, at considerable expense to their school district — which has nothing to show for it other than bills and annoyed employees. Neither Blue Cross of Kansas City nor Healthmine nor their broker, CBIZ, has been able to demonstrate any outcomes.
While a Republican won an election running against wellness in Pennsylvania and a Democrat is running against it in North Carolina, this Kansas City election is nonpartisan. No party affiliations involved. It appears that independents feel the same way about wellness as Democrats and Republicans.
Here are some tidbits from Mr. Kramschuster’s website:
Another argument made by the district’s insurance broker, which is accepted uncritically by the district, is the recommendation that the district purchase a $70,000 wellness program for the district. The main feature of this program is a blood test and questionnaire asking employees about their drinking habits, their history of disease and what medical tests they have had or plan to have. Most employees do not want this program and would prefer not to have it.
The broker, CBIZ, is collecting a nice fee from the district’s taxpayers, who might have otherwise assumed that their school taxes were being spent on educating their children:
In the early years of this program, employees did not participate, and so in order to induce more employees to participate (by giving up their medical privacy), so as to increase the broker’s profit, the broker recommended the district to pay each employee that gives up her medical privacy
Even the prospect of a bribe doesn’t excite the teachers…
The amount of the payment is $600. In order to receive this payment, many more employees do participate, but they are very unhappy about it. It feels mandatory/coercive, and it feels morally wrong.
…and of course the school board has been completely unaccountable:
No one on the board, or in central office, is asking the critically important question: “How does paying teachers to give up their medical privacy serve students?” The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t — the district is serving its broker, rather than expecting its broker to serve it.
The school board was given the option of swapping out this onerous program for Quizzify, which teachers love (and they would still earn their $600 by learning how to purchase healthcare more wisely) because of its Q&A format.
However, because it would have cost the District only about 1/7th of what the Healthmine program costs, the broker would have made much less money. It was turned down. Taxpayers are now on the hook for the full $70,000, plus the cost of potential lawsuits…
…I did do some checking: the CBIZ/Healthmine program is not validated by the Validation Institute, neither Healthmine nor CBIZ has signed the Ethical Wellness Code of Conduct, and no member of the school board seems the slightest bit aware that this is exactly the type of program that has been proven to be a complete waste of money.
Or that this is exactly the type of program which, on January 2nd, will be disallowed…and will open up the district and its taxpayers to lawsuits from these very same harassed and demoralized teachers.
Unable to demonstrate any outcomes. How sad in today’s day and age.
They couldn’t have even been bothered to make any up. As Larry David said to Cheryl when Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen stood them up with no explanation: “They could have at least lied to us. That would have shown some respect.”
I wonder how many other programs the school board funds where they accept not having any outcomes? Maybe the education program doesn’t have any outcomes either.
By all accounts, this is a very fine school district. That’s what makes this wellness obsession such an anomaly. Taking into account the administrative expense and the likely extra doctor visits caused by all this hyperdiagnostic misanthropy, they could hire 2 teachers instead, offer courses they don’t now offer, to solidify their fine reputation. Instead, they are throwing money away and demoralizing teachers.
All well and good Al, but the question remains: Why when it comes to the wellness program, does neither the Board nor the Superintendent ask about outcomes? Seems pretty basic to me….
That’s why this guy, Paul Kramschuster, is running! It is indisputable that if you are sacrificing two teaching positions to finance a “pry, poke and prod” program, you should demand outcomes.
I wonder if the School Board members and/or the teacher’s union would be interested in certification through the Validation Institute. Certainly would be well worth the effort in order to better exercise their fiduciary duties and stewardship over the taxpayer’s money.
From what I can tell, the School Board is not the slightest bit interested in “Stewardship over the taxpayers money.” Hence Mr. Kramschuster’s candidacy. The only reason they aren’t violating ERISA is that I think municipalities are not subject to ERISA.
A couple board members did ask but CBIZ told them that the vendor (CBIZ) cannot provide info about outcomes because “HIPAA” and also, the other CBIZ employee noted, there’s no improvement in “prediabetes” because almost no one in the district has it anyway!
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Thanks for posting your comment Julie. How enlightening! I am going to submit a proposal to the Board that I educate them about worksite wellness. The CBIZ response reminds me of the expression, if you can’t answer the question, baffle them with bullshit.
Good luck with that, Bill!
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As anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time, a quote attributed to Mark Twain,” It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” rings true. I am sure I join others in wishing Mr. Peck success on his proposal to the Board. I am also sure there are many folks who would be able and willing to lend assistance in your efforts. Its time to bring light to the fallacy of misdirect that the wellness industry relies on for its very survival.
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Perhaps we should crowdsource this? We likely have the numbers.
Just how torpid can the wellness ignorati be? Quite torpid it seems.