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August 04, 2005

BW Letters to the Editor

Heather Green

BL Ochman ran into difficulties finding the link for submitting letters to the editor through our Web site. Here is the link, which I also found hard to find because of the page design. From the home page, you go to "contact us" link at the bottom, then to the "customer service" link.

04:18 PM

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I too had trouble finding a contact link.

I became utterly annoyed by the advertising technology you use on the site for the "intersticial" ads, which tend to appear after I read a paragraph or two of the article, interrupting me the worst possible way.

A couple of times I tried to get the link, but it wasn't self-evident, and when I found similar links, none of them was "just talk to us". Instead I found an "Online Advertising" link, which I believe will get me to a salesperson's inbox.

Posted by: Andres B at August 4, 2005 04:47 PM

In your article on page 12 of the October 2, 2006 issue of Business Week there is a US map showing Generosity and Collective Wealth. It is interesting to note that 9 out of the 10 most generous states are Red states. This shows which party(R)is concerned about people and the party(D)that is full of non-caring tightwads.

Posted by: Duane at September 26, 2006 03:17 PM

In your article about Jim Garrity, the CMO of Wachovia, you say how he has done a wonderful job, which it sounds like he really has seeing how he has his job still, but you never tell us how long his tenure has been with Wachovia. As I read down the article I thought I was going to see that he had been with them for about 10 years or so but I was disappointed to never finding out.

Posted by: TIm at November 6, 2006 11:30 PM

Every time I’m online and I see an advertisement I think to myself do I need that. Usually I don’t so I don’t buy or go to the site that it suggests. I guess that’s why internet ads are so important. With Web ads bringing in an astonishing $16 billion this year, you have to realize that Web ads are the most important type of advertisement. Seeing how I spend a couple hours a day on the web, I probably get to see hundreds of ads. And you can’t just pass through them like you can on television. When you get to a site you want they have about thirty ads just waiting for you. It’s no surprise that companies are willing to spend the big bucks for these little ads.

Posted by: Tim at November 6, 2006 11:31 PM

Steven Hoffman's Jan 8 Outside Shot sounds .....way out. In suggesting that Medicare recipients be paid for "savings" on Medicare, he omitted a crucial detail. What would constitute a "saving?" Is it skipping a needed test? If so, we would be paying people to risk, or have, bad health. Mightn't such a plan offer an opportunity for collusion by the dishonest: for example, a doctor orders the procedure, the patient refuses it, and the two split the profit?

Posted by: Vivian Hegg at January 19, 2007 01:00 AM

"Prevention – the keystone of change for our healthcare system"

By Michael H. Samuelson, President & CEO, The Health & Wellness Institute

Jim Hagedorn, the CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is to be commended for his devotion to improving the health of his employees and his willingness to take some risks to protect his company’s bottom line. Despite the controversy identified in the “Get Healthy – Or Else” (Feb. 26) BusinessWeek article, his personal commitment to wellness at Scotts Miracle-Gro is noteworthy at a time when leading by example is not as common among corporate executives as it should be. Mr. Hagedorn and other forward-thinking executives understand that controlling healthcare costs is a serious challenge. This challenge can only be met by requiring every employee to take personal responsibility for the modifiable health risks that are cumulatively hammering the bottom line in corporate America.

As a wellness professional with more than 30 years of experience designing and delivering health management solutions, I applaud the financial commitment and bold policies Mr. Hagedorn has made to move his company towards becoming a healthy workplace. More companies need to take action steps to support the development of lower risk employees. Given that more than 80 % of US companies are small businesses, the majority of them simply do not have millions to spend on a wellness program. In other areas of the country, the legal climate will not allow for some of the “tough love” measures currently employed by Scotts, nor can they afford the legal costs and potential for large punitive damage awards represented by employment discrimination lawsuits.

As a health educator, I would also caution Mr. Hagedorn that a “take it or leave it” model which incorrectly assumes that all such unhealthy behaviors can be changed just by presenting them with the facts alone will not lead to lasting behavior change. Each company must assess its own needs and unique culture, and develop a customized approach to becoming a healthier place to work.

The truth is that it’s often an uphill battle to get anyone to change unhealthy habits – especially in an employer to employee situation. Arguably, the most effective way to incent engagement in wellness is the “stick” approach. By threatening to shift the financial pain of paying more for their health plan premiums, employers have seen participation in health risk assessments (HRA) increase. The upside is that individual and organizational health can improve simply through the completion of an HRA – a tool which is broadly adopted as the first critical step of any corporate initiative to create a health & wellness-oriented workplace.

Given the existing strain on healthcare resources for most companies, designing effective wellness solutions for small to medium companies can occur within a scalable and customizable model. For example, programs can be built around a mix of community-based resources and a variety of worksite wellness activities. By including creative incentives and positive reinforcements, these programs lead to lasting changes in employee health and productivity.

In today’s workforce, there are hundreds of success stories like Scotts Miracle-Gro’s Joe Pellegrini and Jim Lowe. However, there are thousands of others who need prevention resources and support to summit the mountain of behavior change. This change often is triggered by a visceral experience; e.g., Mr. Hagedorn’s decision to quit smoking following his mother’s death from lung cancer.

Corporate wellness programs need to facilitate each employee moving through the linear behavior change process and experiencing such a moment. Fortunately, no one needs to die to create a visceral moment. People can experience them through the loss of employment or income.

How a company chooses to facilitate organizational and individual change must be based on available resources and the health challenges they face. Achieving a healthy workplace that results in a positive return on investment can be accomplished with a modest budget. Prevention holds the key to success. A low cost down payment on wellness today will yield a high dollar return in the short and long term through a healthier and more productive workforce.

Posted by: Michael Samuelson at March 12, 2007 11:43 AM


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