Also, the world’s greatest opportunity to save money on healthcare
Have you noticed the Walmart ads for the improved assortment of fruits and veggies in the produce department? Now, all they need to do to save a few billion dollars a year is to influence their 2.2 million employees to eat more of them.
As for the tagline of “Save Money. Live Better.” What better way to do both than to teach all of their associates how to take charge of their own health? So I decided to write a letter to the CEO and open his eyes to a revolutionary way to REALLY save money and live better like he may have never imagined.
Like my letter to the CEO of CostCo two weeks ago, here’s my letter that went out today via Priority Mail along with a copy of our book and a hard copy of our 4Leaf Corporate Wellness vision document. (Still no response to my 6-7-13 letter to Mr. Jelinek at CostCo)
- Friday, June 21, 2013
- Mr. Mike Duke, CEO
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Subject: Slashing the cost of healthcare in businesses
Dear Mr. Duke,
Your new ads for fresh produce caught my attention and I have become a much more frequent Walmart customer as a result. Now that you have the healthiest foods at the lowest possible prices always, I am writing to propose a meeting with you to discuss how you can save billions by influencing your Walmart associates to eat more of those foods.
Your estimated cost of healthcare. With over two million employees, I estimate that Walmart’s annual cost of healthcare is north of five billion dollars. Not only are you the largest company in the world, you probably have the world’s largest healthcare bill.
The good news is that you have a greater opportunity to save money on healthcare than any other company in the world. And from what I read about your management style, you could be the right person at the right time—to show the entire world how to tame the healthcare monster that is crippling so many of our businesses and governments. From a 2010 Fortune article, your “vintage Duke” approach to problems was described thusly:
Study a problem; take action.
How about healthcare? Did you know that our unhealthy food choices are driving up to 80% of the cost of healthcare in the USA? That means that you could conceivably eliminate several billion dollars of expense—enabling you to take those lowest prices even lower.
Who am I and how can I help? Like you, I studied Industrial Engineering at a southern university in the late 60’s, graduating from Auburn in 1968. Later, I earned an MBA from the University of Hawaii while on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard. Since then, most of my career has been devoted to improving profitability in numerous enterprises by eliminating waste in diverse companies like Sears, ITT, and Holiday Inns. My last executive position was EVP of Operations with Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.
So what’s that got to do with the cost of healthcare? It’s a long story that I can explain when we meet. The attached “vision” document outlines our detailed approach to helping you lower your cost of healthcare by anywhere from 15% to 50%. Those are VERY big dollars at Walmart and I would like the opportunity to review our brand new approach to corporate wellness with you in person.
As you can see from my website (hpjmh.com), I am now directing my “waste reduction” skills to a new arena, focusing on an issue that may be the most important issue in the history of the world. I am talking about our food choices and the collective impact that they have on our health, our cost of healthcare, our environment—and, ultimately, the long-term sustainability of the human species.
Since 1960, the cost of health care in the United States as a percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) has risen sharply from 5.2% in 1960 to the 18% that we have today. Most of this huge problem is driven by our food choices—and it’s still getting worse. I have concluded that our only way out of this mess is for the CEOs of America to take the lead. That’s because corporate CEOs, like yourself, are the only prominent leaders in our nation with a strong financial incentive for all of their employees to be healthy.
In developing our attached “corporate wellness” vision document, I drew heavily on the counsel of my friend Paul Allaire, the former CEO of Xerox. Now retired, he is a strong believer in the approach outlined in our book and has made it very clear to me that this kind of initiative does not have a prayer unless the top guy is driving it.
We agree. That’s why I am writing directly to you. By the way, Mr. Allaire provided the following endorsement that appears on the back cover of our book (which is attached):
“We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables—with this book, we now know why. The authors make a well-documented case for why it is important for your personal health and why it is critical for the health of the planet. A compelling book; it is both informative and a pleasure to read!” —Paul Allaire, Fortune 100 CEO (Xerox, 1990–1999)
Please take a look at the attached document; then let’s meet in person to discuss. On the last page of the enclosed document, you will see a summary of my credentials for helping you take billions of dollars a year out of your cost of health care—while yielding a healthier, happier and more productive workforce as a fringe benefit. I think your Walmart customers would approve.
As for Save Money. Live Better. There is simply no better way to do both than to teach all of your associates how to take charge of their own health. As for Walmart’s emphasis on sustainability, influencing your associates to adopt plant-based eating will do more good than ALL of your current sustainability initiatives—combined.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon; please call me at 917-399-9700.
J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
PS: There are only two prominent CEOs (to my knowledge) who are doing anything close to resembling what I describe in the attached “vision” document. They are John Mackey at Whole Foods Market and Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the City of Chicago. And, in both cases, their cost of healthcare is going down.
ATTACHMENT. 4Leaf Corporate Wellness—Vision Document
Endorsement from down under. After reading my similar letter to the CostCo CEO, my friend Philip Wollen (former Citibank top executive in Australia) sent me this note; gotta just love that second line.
You have written a powerful document. Any CEO who does not read it with a racing pulse should be fired.
At the very least, any CEO worth his/her salt should assign the task of meeting you to a key executive responsible directly to the CEO. . . . . . .with a requirement that he addresses all your issues and makes a recommendation (one way or another) to the CEO within 60 days.
Click here to hear Philip’s fiery 10-minute speech from down under—the best 10-minute summary of our international food/health/sustainability dilemma that I have ever heard.
The Bottom Line. Eventually, some of our nation’s most enlightened CEOs will embrace the 4Leaf Corporate Wellness Solution. Soon, they will begin to reap staggering savings in healthcare expenditures AND the improved productivity of a healthier workforce. Ultimately those CEOs who don’t choose to truly promote health in the workplace will no longer be able to compete with those who do.
Send this blog to the CEOs of corporations where you are a shareholder. Ultimately, they work for you. Please ask them to give me a call. 917-399-9700.
- Master blog for corporate wellness. Slashing the cost of health care in businesses… with many videos and links to related blogs.
- My recent blog/letter to CostCo. CostCo spending one billion dollars on healthcare
- John Mackey at Whole Foods. Promoting health and saving money at Whole Foods Market
- Rahm Emanuel blog. America’s fittest mayor (Chicago) goes PLANT-STRONG!
- Fixing the nation’s healthcare blog. Did you know that Obama really “gets it” about food?
- Fixing USA healthcare. The “Perfect Storm” for fixing healthcare—NOW!
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now
Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation