I'm very disappointed in President Obama.
On Feb. 16, I wrote a blog for our new Web publication, H&HN Daily, about how I'm bending the proverbial cost curve and I'm still waiting for the announcement of a Rose Garden press conference in my honor, not to mention an invitation to bunk awhile in the Lincoln Bedroom. I didn't even get so much as a tweet from Secretary Sebelius just to say, "Thanks." There weren't any tears of joy from Speaker Boehner. Now that I think about it, none of my Facebook friends "liked" my news either.
Do you know who did get an invite to the White House the same week my blog appeared? Hall of Fame atheletes Bill Russell and Stan Musial. Both received a Presidential Medal of Freedom—Russell for being able to dunk a basketball and Musial for being able to hit a curveball.
Me? I'm just slowing down health care inflation and pulling our economy back from the brink of disaster. Nothing to see here. Keep moving.
For those who missed my blog, here's a brief recap: I eat healthfully. I ride my bike to work every day, year-round, logging more than 2,500 miles (and that doesn't include the 1,000-plus miles I put on my road bike on the weekends from spring to fall). I try to get in an extra workout three to four times a week. I get my flu vaccine every year. I do a fairly decent job of managing my asthma and haven't required an ED visit for that chronic condition in years.
As it turns out, I'm not the only one helping to bend the cost curve. Thanks to employers like mine, which graciously enhance workers' health care benefits with access to various wellness programs, employees are heading to the gym at lunchtime, taking part in stress-reduction programs, learning how to eat better, managing their chronic illnesses and much more. Some of these employees work for you.
An article on page 41 explains how hospitals are implementing wellness programs for employees and their family members. Sentara Health System saved $3.4 million in health care costs over three years. Close to 80 percent of the health system's 11,200 benefit-eligible employees participated in the wellness program.
But it shouldn't be just about the bottom line. "We need to set an example. Our own employees need to be living the life before they can counsel others to do it," Neil Douthat, a trustee at Truman Medical Centers, says in the article.
The issue is near and dear to Truman CEO John Bluford. He's made wellness a top priority at the hospital and, as chairman of the American Hospital Association, is passionate about getting the rest of the field to buy into the concept. In January, AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust issued a report on how hospitals can take an active approach to wellness. "A Call to Action: Creating a Culture of Health," is worth the read. You can find it at www.hret.org. Who knows? If we build up some critical mass, maybe we can all finally get our day in the Rose Garden.