Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wellness Program or Intrusion?

On Friday, I and a couple of others from my company met with a sales rep from a national chain of health clubs that is venturing into the wellness and health insurance brokerage arena. They can bring folks in to do blood draws and adminster health risk assessment questionaires to our employees, and then provide each employee with a nice color booklet with their results, explanations, and graphs. They will also provide the company with a composite snapshot of the same, just with no names associated, so we might know what wellness activities to target. For folks who have severly out of range test result(s), they will have a nurse call the employee to recommend a course of action (likely...get thee to a doctor). So far I'm OK with all of that.

From there we started to talk dollars and measurements. We asked...if the company invests in these things, how do we know its doing any good and can it help with our health insurance rates? Mr. Sales Rep suggests offering incentives...those who participate pay a lower percentage of their insurance premiums than those who don't. One of the offerings is a "life coach" who will help employees who are identified through the testing as at risk or with health conditions. The employee will talk to their life coach and get pointers on managing their condition or risk factors.

At this point, my business hat is pushed aside as the hair stands up on the back of my neck. I maintain my cool, but inside am way, no how, do I want someone from a call center who probably doesn't know anything about me or the difference between T1 and T2 "coaching" me. I can hear it all now...

Me: Hi Coach, I cannot figure out why my overnight basal rates are working some nights and not others. Some morings I wake up at 120, and others at 225. What gives?
Coach: Carol, we would suggest that you take your insulin as presribed and get exercise at least 3 times a week. Oh, and 120 is above the clinical guidelines for fasting glucose, you may want to see your doctor.
Me: I know that, I pump Novolog, run 20 miles a week and lift weights 2 to 3 times. Now could we get back to my basal rates?
Coach: What is a basal rate, and what does inflating your tires have to do with anything?
Me: Slams the phone down, knowing I will be labeled as noncompliant and that I'll pay more for my health insurance because I don't want to participate in the wellnes program.

I guess this is a selfish view, because I know that there are folks who would be helped, primarily those who have not sought out information about their conditions or risks on their own. But the thought of spending more time on diabetes, especially if it does not help, is enough to make me want to scream.


Scott K. Johnson said...

That call sounds like many of our nightmares I think.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

I am with you on this ALL THE WAY! Who needs more incompetent help.....