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More Media Coverage Slamming New Genetic-Screening Wellness Bill

This afternoon STATNews followed up with more criticism of HR 1313, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act.  As measured by comments to their previous article and the Washington Post’s article, public opinion is running about 999-to-1 against it.  That’s a lot even for wellness.

Ryan Picarella, of WELCOA, jumped on this and got way ahead of HERO, which is not opposing it.  They can’t. Aetna is a major dues-paying supporter, and Aetna loves genetically screening employees for defects. Naturally they fabricate their outcomes.  This time we mean it literally when we say: “Lying is part of wellness vendor DNA.” Aetna even invested in a company to further their dystopian vision, a company ironically named Newtopia.

By contrast, this is the kind of leadership we’ve come to expect from WELCOA, filling the ethical vacuum created by HERO.

But, more importantly, this article is the first media mention of Ethical Wellness, our new website dedicated to putting the wellness back in wellness. You might recall the original Workplace Wellness Code of Conduct.  Ethical Wellness has updated it.  You can sign on to the website, join and endorse, all at no cost.  You can also contribute, separately, and be highlighted as a contributor. Scott Life and Dan Keith have both pitched in $500, as compared by to my $10 (to test the donating mechanism — that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I’ll be putting in the other $490 shortly. Really.  There is also a linkedin group.  No mass postings — a true discussion group.

We’ll be talking more about Ethical Wellness in the coming days.  for now, it’s about not fining employees for refusing to have their children genetically screened for defects.

 

 

Wellsteps: We don’t need your stinkin’ Code of Conduct.

Wellsteps has joined Michael O’Donnell, HERO and Optum in attempting to stonewall the Employee Health Code of Conduct, which started as a joint project among WELCOA, myself, and Salveo Partners and has attracted many hundreds of favorable responses.  Quizzify and It Starts with Me have both received validation from the Validation Institute for (among other things) our embrace of this simple minimum standard. In both cases, we think the bar should be set much higher, but apparently “do no harm” is already too high a hurdle for HERO, Wellsteps and Optum.  Hence their opposition.  And Kudos to WELCOA, a very fine organization that Quizzify intends to support for 2017, for standing up to Mr. Aldana’s bullying.

There is some irony in that it was Wellsteps’ harms to Boise employees that inspired my participation in the code-writing. Vendors should not be given awards for harming employees. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.


Here is the Code, in its entirety.

The Employee Health Program Code of Conduct:  Programs Should Do No Harm

Our organization resolves that its program should do no harm to employee health, corporate integrity or employee/employer finances. Instead we will endeavor to support employee well-being for our customers, their employees and all program constituents.

Employee Benefits and Harm Avoidance

Our organization will recommend doing programs with/for employees rather than to them, and will focus on promoting well-being and avoiding bad health outcomes. Our choices and frequencies of screenings are consistent with United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), CDC guidelines, and Choosing Wisely.

Our relevant staff will understand USPSTF guidelines, employee harm avoidance, wellness-sensitive medical event measurement, and outcomes analysis.   

Employees will not be singled out, fined, or embarrassed for their health status.

Respect for Corporate Integrity and Employee Privacy

We will not share employee-identifiable data with employers and will ensure that all protected health information (PHI) adheres to HIPAA regulations and any other applicable laws.

Commitment to Valid Outcomes Measurement

Our contractual language and outcomes reporting will be transparent and plausible. All research limitations (e.g., “participants vs. non-participants” or the “natural flow of risk” or ignoring dropouts) and methodology will be fully disclosed, sourced, and readily available.


What’s there not to like?  Plenty, if you negatively impact employee health, as Wellsteps does, according to STATNews. Here is Wellsteps’ response to the code, complete with their signature name-calling.

The Wellness Bully Code of Conduct

Even though the wellness bullies claim that the wellness industry is a sham, they have announced a new code of wellness conduct.  I’m very interested in improving the quality and effectiveness of wellness programs. I don’t know any wellness professional who would say otherwise. But I think I speak for all of us when I say that I have no interest in a code of conduct written by a gang of bullies. The wellness industry does not need a code of conduct, we have HIPAA and other laws to do that. 

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