Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Henry Ford Health System: A Role Model for Hypocrisy; Health of Patients and Employees is Self-Admittedly Not a Priority

According to an article at, the Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont Health System - which employ a combined 42,000 people - have announced that they will no longer hire anyone who uses nicotine, including smokers and smokeless tobacco users, as well as electronic cigarettes.

According to the article: "Starting Jan. 1, 2013, the systems will not hire anyone who fails a nicotine screening. Applicants can reapply after six months, said Jay Holden, Beaumont’s vice president of human resources. 'We just felt this was the next step to take in terms of being a role model for health and wellness in our community,' Holden said. The hiring policies don’t apply to current employees, but now they are no longer allowed to use tobacco or smell of smoke during the workday. Employees who violate the policies can be disciplined or lose their job. Tobacco products include but are not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. ... Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting said in a statement that the 'health and well-being of our patients, employees and visitors is our top priority.'"

The Rest of the Story

Apparently, the health and well-being of its patients, employees and visitors is not its top priority. If that were the case, then by its own reasoning, the Henry Ford Health System would be getting rid of all of its smoking staff and replacing them with nonsmokers. After all, the reasoning behind its action is that it harms employees and patients to have staff who smoke. So if that's the case, then how can Henry Ford justify continuing to employ tobacco users?

By its own admission, Henry Ford is not making the health of its employees and patients a priority because it is refusing to replace its tobacco-using employees with smoke-free employees.

Why would Henry Ford continue to allow smokers to have interactions with its patients? Presumably, it would be a tiresome process to have to hire so many new employees. Well, then, health is apparently not the priority.

Moreover, Henry Ford is being highly hypocritical in its actions. It states that hiring only nonsmokers is critical to "being a role model for health and wellness" in the community." Fine, but by that very logic, Henry Ford is admitting that it is a terrible role model for health and wellness in the community because it continues to employ large numbers of smokers and other tobacco users.

After all, the Henry Ford Health System is discouraging people from trying to quit smoking. The mainstays of quitting smoking involve nicotine use, and by using nicotine, prospective applicants are not eligible for employment. If this were actually about health, Henry Ford should be encouraging electronic cigarette use and rewarding prospective employees who have succeeded in quitting smoking, not disqualify them and throw their job applications in the garbage.

Frankly, all of its talk about being a good role model and making health a priority is a bunch of crap. On the contrary, Henry Ford is sacrificing health, acting hypocritically, failing to make health a priority, and by its own admission, serving as a poor role model for health in the community.

No comments: