Where else but in Boca Raton, one of Florida's most affluent cities, would a company offer a free, $2,200 full-body CT scan to the one group most likely to be able to afford it themselves-corporate executives?
After all, don't these corporate titans have enough perks, frills and stock-option plans?
That hasn't stopped a steady parade of highly paid executives, many at the top rung of Fortune 500 companies, from taking advantage of the generous offer from BodyView. And that includes CEOs and CFOs from three major hospital districts in South Florida, says James Stannard, the company's managing director. Privacy-not the allure of a freebie-might be one reason for the interest, he notes.
"If you're a (hospital) CEO and you get scanned (at your hospital), doesn't everybody at the facility know your information despite what HIPAA says?" Stannard asks.
All told, more than 100 CEOs have taken advantage of the offer since it was introduced four months ago, says Stannard, who hopes the corporate chiefs will encourage their human resources departments to adopt the BodyView program.
The $2,200 complimentary package includes a CT scan from the bottom of the head to the pelvis, blood chemistry and DNA analyses and a virtual colonoscopy. The Executive Detection by BodyView program caters to busy executives from the moment they walk in the door, which happens to be next to the Saks Fifth Avenue at Boca Raton Towne Center, "right near where a lot of people of that echelon shop," Stannard says.
For purists, the sight of a bunch of dogs scampering through a hospital ward might be a bit unsettling-a pet peeve, if you will.
But not at 236-bed Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., where the "animal assisted therapy program" has tripled since its debut in February 2002 as one of the most doggone successful "complementary" healing initiatives ever.
"We met a little resistance in the beginning," says Patty Kaplan, the program's director and the wife of the suburban Chicago hospital's vice president and chief medical officer, Alan Kaplan. "Let's face it, the thought of dogs running around the hospital isn't for everyone. We had no idea that it was going to take off like it did."
Kaplan says the therapy program was created at the insistence of the hospital's president and CEO, Pamela Meyer Davis, who viewed it as a way to boost patients' morale and help divert their attention from discomfort or boredom. Similar programs are in place at many hospitals across the nation; one of the largest is at 248-bed Children's Hospital in Denver, Kaplan says.
A registered nurse, Kaplan kicked off the program with 15 teams of humans and their dogs, including her very own precious pet, a large Munsterlander pointer named Max. Since then, there's been no shortage of eager dog owners willing to pay the $125 training fee. Indeed, the current catalog of canine therapists numbers 48, everything from massive Doberman pinschers to 6-pound Yorkshire terriers, whose owners all volunteer their time to provide a little treat to the hospital's patients. Patient-satisfaction scores have shot up over the year, Kaplan says.
"The program has been a huge benefit," she says. "We're actually planning to do a study to see if there's a decreased need for pain medication (based on the animal therapy). We think we're going to see a positive result. It gets people up and moving. It helps with loneliness and it's proven to decrease blood pressure."
Happily, Kaplan reports there have been no bites or injuries involving the program's roster of dogs, which are required to undergo an intensive, four-day training program and must be bathed 24 hours before each "shift."
"We've had a couple of incidents of dogs vomiting. But that's it."
Tables turned on ombudsman
Who watches the watchdog, especially if the watchdog is accused of watching something he shouldn't be watching?
In Connecticut, at least, the apparent answer is: the state's Department of Information Technology. It's not yet known why the department was riffling through the computer of state Managed Care Ombudsman Gerald Martens in May, when inspectors allegedly turned up some highly incriminating evidence-pornographic images. State officials aren't talking. But a letter sent by Gov. John Rowland to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sheds some light on the strange saga of Martens, who was suspended from his post and now stands to lose his $90,000-a-year job as an advocate for the 1.5 million state residents covered by managed-care plans.
In a two-page letter to the attorney general after a state hearing on the controversy, Rowland said Martens "has engaged in misconduct in the conduct of his office." Rowland alleged that Martens installed unauthorized software and "viewed pornographic materials on his state computer." Rowland, who appointed Martens to the post in May 2001, asked for his resignation a week or so after the discovery. So far Martens has refused, claiming in published reports that the dirty pictures were sent to him in unsolicited e-mails. Martens, who could not be reached for comment, has proclaimed his innocence and is seeking reinstatement plus back pay.
A spokesman for the attorney general refused comment, citing the pending investigation.
Rowland directed Blumenthal to "conduct whatever investigation into this matter as you deem proper," passing along a diskette that allegedly contains pornographic images.
Now a hot topic in the Connecticut Statehouse is: What, exactly, is on that diskette? Outliers suspects it's probably a little racier than a balance sheet or expense reports.