According to my calculations after input from the Bloomberg News editor
While watching CBS This Morning last week, I learned that CostCo foots the healthcare bill for 88% of its 174,000 well-paid employees. A company known for taking care of its workforce, they lead the industry with an outrageously low turnover rate of just 5% a year. As the saying goes, “take good care of your people and they’ll take care of you.”
So I decided to write a letter to the CEO and open his eyes to a revolutionary way to REALLY take care of his people—and save hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Here’s my letter that went out Friday via Priority Mail along with a copy of our book and a hard copy of our 4Leaf Corporate Wellness vision document.
- Friday, June 7, 2013
- Mr. W. Craig Jelinek, CEO, CostCo
- Subject: Slashing the cost of healthcare in businesses
Dear Mr. Jelinek,
Today’s edition of CBS This Morning featured an interview with the Bloomberg editor talking about your favorite subject—CostCo. I took some notes during the interview and ran a few numbers afterwards.
Your estimated cost of healthcare. Using numbers I heard on the show, combined with information from Wikipedia, I computed that the company’s share of your entire workforce’s cost of healthcare is close to one billion dollars a year—probably exceeding $2.5 million per day. How can you reduce that HUGE number and how would that help provide value to your member? I refer to one of your quotes from another source:
“We are constantly looking at ways to improve our efficiency…We need to compete in the marketplace so we’ll consider anything that adds value for our members.”
Did you know that our unhealthy food choices are driving up to 80% of our cost of healthcare in the USA? That means that you could conceivably eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars that are adding ZERO value for your members.
Who am I and how can I help? Like you, my first job in high school was bagging groceries atNational Foods in Murfreesboro, TN. I later studied Industrial Engineering at Auburn University and 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 CostCo and I would like the opportunity to review our approach 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:
“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 hundreds of millions 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 Costco members would approve.
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 the above document, 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.
- 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 email@example.com
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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