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Wellness & Benefits News Roundup: New Diabetes Findings, Provant's Bankruptcy, & Too Many EKGs

Updated: Jan 15



Diabetic Employees Need Not Test Glucose Daily

A study showed that non-insulin-dependent diabetics (meaning about 80% of them) do not benefit from daily blood glucose checks. These checks have no impact on HbA1c’s or quality of life. The specific wording: People who tested their blood sugar levels daily had slightly lower blood sugar levels in the middle of the study than those who didn’t test. But this difference didn’t last until the end of the study. Among people who checked their blood sugar levels, there were no differences in blood sugar levels or quality of life between those who did and didn’t receive text messages. Conclusion: the inconvenience, discomfort and expense of daily monitoring – estimated at $1630/diabetic employee – is not merited. This result matches a study by the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (available through Freedom of Information Act request) showing that making drugs, supplies, and strips free to diabetics had no impact on admissions or ER visits for diabetes, over a two-year period.

Prominent Wellness Vendor Goes Bankrupt

Provant Health’s sale of assets to Quest Diagnostics through Chapter 11 proceedings has been completed. Provant plans to continue operations, despite its history of controversial recommendations— for instance, that employees drink eight glasses of water a day.


Should Employees Get Routine EKGs?

The new Apple Watch provides electrocardiograms (EKGs). This will be helpful for employees with atrial fibrillation but experts warn of a wave of false positives among everyone else. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gives routine EKG testing a “D” for just that reason. This recommendation covers asymptomatic, low-risk adults.



The USPSTF didn’t extend this recommendation to teenagers because of course no pediatrician would ever perform routine EKGs on children, and obviously no high school would ever encourage all its students to get EKGs. Well, almost no high school.

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