Is anti-smoking employment policy smart health care or merely discrimination?
It's nearly impossible to be a smoker today. In Philadelphia, the Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law prohibits smokers from lighting up in public spaces, including their place of work. The law also bans smoking in outdoor seating areas and within 20 feet of building entrances.
This week, Main Line Health decided to take its smoke-free workplace to the next level by announcing a new policy aimed at curbing the use of tobacco products among its workers.
To ensure that prospective employees are smoke-free, Main Line Health will require applicants to certify on their online application that they have not used tobacco products or nicotine in any way, shape or form for 90 days prior. Applicants will also be asked to abstain from smoking during their career with Main Line Health.
Insisting that employees embrace a healthy lifestyle is a commendable goal that should be shared by all health care providers. However, this new policy, a similar version of which is enforced by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, is troubling on many fronts. It eliminates a significant number of job seekers from consideration for employment (which could also be viewed as employer-sanctioned discrimination), and it conflicts with Main Line Health's commitment to a diverse workplace where employees and their experiences are valued.
Dr. Frank Leone, the director of the Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program at the University of Pennsylvania, believes the new policy may have unintended consequences for Main Line Health and its employees.
"I think policies like this make it less likely that people are going to stop smoking," said Dr. Leone.
The wellness space has a new contender: Portland-based Adherial, whose secure communication platform allows employers to engage workers more with their health and wellness benefits.
Adherial’s platform uses both Web and smartphone technology to offer targeted and personalized two-way communication. It is delivered on a white-label basis to agencies, insurance companies and other benefits plan providers. The end users are employers, who have a console to manage health benefits and the wellness plan.
For example, the employer could keep track of the incentives if they offer an incentive-based wellness plan. A smart ID card delivers health plan information in real time, including changes in the amount of deductible paid.
“All the information is live,” said Adherial CEO Joe Tanous. “You’d know right there and wouldn’t have to wait.”
The Adherial platform uses reminders, required responses and communication with plan managers. It has a proprietary server-based member profile with member plan data, historical billing data and content from their electronic health record.
“Everyone believes if employees are in better health, it will save the company money,” Tanous said. We knew there was a major trend of employers trying to get employees to take better care of themselves for their own benefit and the benefit of the company. The key is engagement.”
Tanous said people tend to “unengage” in about three-to-six months’ time. The goal of Adherial’s platform is to sustain that engagement.
“We tried to develop software that would keep people frequently interacting over the long term,” he said.
Tanous said the company had about $250,000 in seed money, including government grants, and expects to raise $5 million in venture capital in its next round.
Interest has been growing in work site wellness. The Oregon Employer Survey collected responses from more than 1,500 work sites of all types and sizes employing 180,000 Oregonians. The survey found that more and more work sites are creating policies for a smoke-free environment and providing healthy foods in cafeterias and incentives for reaching health goals, according to the Oregon Public Health Institute.
The road most travelled...
Perhaps the road most travelled by people in Nagaland would be the National Highway No 29 between Kohima and Dimapur. Many of us come to the capital for some purposes or work etc...at different times. I am one of the many who travel on this road most of the times for my ministry calls for it. I was travelling with my friend on the 13th February 2014 from Jakhama to Dimapur and we were engaged in conversation on different topics as we journeyed. When we reached the landslide area below Kohima town, the road was full of dust because of the vehicles passing and the road condition was not good as we all know and you would agree with me. This inspired me to think that almost all of us travel on this road in spite of its bad conditions whether the road is good, bad, dusty, narrow or dangerous. We undertake the journey because it is our need to reach our destination even if the road conditions are not good. I would like to reflect our life to these road conditions as we all travel on good times, bad times, dangerous times and whatever times we may name it. Our lives are full of experiences that can ignite our minds into inspirations in our journey of life. In our lives too we have to make this life journey to achieve our goals in spite of all hardships, hurdles and challenges because we know the reward is assured for everyone who endures these trials and turbulent times of life ‘Success’. Here are a few points that can help us to reach our goals and become successful in life. The idea is to enjoy the journey of life as happiness is to be found not at the end of the road but along the road.
Desire: All of us have a desire to be the very best, to do things excellently, and to experience a sense of fulfilment, competence, self confidence and a goal to achieve in all levels of our lives and existence. Our goals are not always known nor are they sufficiently clarified until we have achieved are experienced for it is a life long journey. Many of us do not know the purpose of our existence, nor do we have any vision for the future. We just exist and move on day after day not knowing at times where we are going. In the last few decades there is a great loss of human excellence in many spheres of life, a gradual deterioration of what is excellent in our cultures, values, society and religion. We need to bring a desirable transformation in the entire society and lead our society and humanity towards its development and excellence. Now is the time that we all become motivated to share with our society, the inner resources, talents and skills, learning and experience, wisdom and insights, values and outlooks, visions and dreams for an enlightened and happy humanity.
Do Math competitions inspire students to gain proficiency in the subject? Patricia Mascarenhas finds the answer.
Mathematics can be perfected only with practice. Keeping this in mind, several institutes conduct a number of Math tests every year that help determine what students know and what they still need to learn. “The tests give parents and teachers an in depth understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, actionable insights into areas of improvement and visible clarity on progress achieved,” says Neeraj Jewalar, founder and CEO, Smartur’s Math Proficiency Test.
Children are naturally averse to devoting time to practice math as it is not an ‘enjoyable’ activity. So these tests take Math beyond classrooms. “Many organisations have come up with Math puzzles, quizzes, games, competitions, etc; to help students learn math thoroughly while keeping them motivated,” says Blossom Pereira, Math educator, Christchurch School. Jewalar says, “The idea is to ensure that not only the “bright” students but even the average ones sign up for the contests,” she adds.
A New Corporate Medical Benefit -- Via Email!
Remember five or 10 years ago when you couldn't understand why your doctor wasn't using email -- at least to communicate with you -- not even to make appointments? Well, you probably still can't understand it, not even in the last few years, when your doctor may have started walking around the office with a laptop for taking notes or even electronically ordering prescriptions from your pharmacy of choice.
The first doctor I knew to use email with patients was in San Francisco, naturally, and charged $25 for each incoming email he opened and read. Well, he was a high-priced psychopharmacologist, a shrink with extra experience and training using drugs to treat mental illness. And he therefore actually knew what he was doing, which many doctors fooling with those drugs do not.
Anyway, my first reaction was "Great, a doctor finally using email!" But my second was, "How dare he charge for it?!" Dumb, huh? A doctor's time is the same whether you are together in the examining room with your clothes off or he or she is at a keyboard. For years, many lawyers have charged a tenth of their hourly rate to open your email. More if it takes longer than six minutes to read.
Let's take this to the next step and suppose you never see your doctor, instead communicating solely via email or phone, while occasionally snapping a cell-phone picture of that nasty whatever and sending it along for a look-see.
Hey, if a bank is willing to accept a picture of a check as a legitimate deposit, why not email your doc a photo of that cut to see if you need stitches? Remember your shock when you first learned radiologists in India were reading x-rays and CT-scans emailed to them by American labs and writing the diagnostic reports?
Well, it's all come home with Sherpaa, a Web service sold to corporations as an employee medical benefit, a full notch below health insurance and one above the employee assistance program.
For what was the old price of $50 per employee per month (currently changing), members get to send emails to Sherpaa's three full-time doctors, general practitioners ages 40 to 55. Working 12- or 24-hour shifts (no worse than a resident, though they're lots older), together they provide the network's 24/7 coverage. With an urgent issue, members can telephone the doctor on duty.
Sherpaa also has a network of 100 medical specialists for in-person visits. Since the service refers the specialists a lot of patients (directly from the docs on the phone or via email), co-founder Dr. Jay Parkinson says subscribers get appointments quickly. Which, in NYC where Sherpaa is headquartered, might mean within a month, but probably less.
Spafinder backs corporate wellness with new appointment
Spafinder is backing growth in the corporate wellness market with a new senior appointment.
Claudia Rimerman has joined the spa marketing company as senior vice president of corporate group wellness.
Rimerman, who has previously held positions with United Health Group, AIG, Corporate Health Systems and Humana, will lead the Corporate Wellness 365 division.
Through Corporate Wellness 365, companies can redeem gift cards for a range of services and activities that include yoga, fitness, spa treatments and Pilates, as they strive to encourage employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle in a bid to reduce healthcare costs.
Spafinder chairman and chief executive Pete Ellis said: “Our offering is completely aligned with what companies are trying to accomplish with wellness programmes.”