City Inspector Suggests $22M Chicago Healthy Lives Program May Have Had Dubious Benefits

City officials were quoted as saying the “Chicago Healthy Lives” program is only one component of a multi-strategy approach to contain healthcare costs

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Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson criticized a City of Chicago wellness program Monday, saying officials had set up no mechanisms to determine whether employees were leading healthier lives, or if the City had enjoyed lower health care costs as a result.

The investigation revealed that despite the fact that the City had spent in excess of $22 million on its “Chicago Healthy Lives” initiative, no metrics had been established to gauge the program’s impact. Ferguson’s staff urged the City to set up mechanisms to assess targets for health status and healthcare savings. But in a report issued today, the Inspector General’s office said the city had made no commitments to do so.

The report quoted the city as saying they do not “plan to set specific health status or healthcare savings targets for the current CLH program,” and that it “does not report publicly on CLH outcomes.”

City officials were quoted as saying the “Chicago Healthy Lives” program is only one component of a multi-strategy approach to contain healthcare costs.

In an unrelated matter, Ferguson’s office recommended firing a Department of Aviation electrician, after an investigation revealed that the employee had sexually harassed at least two non-city employees, including an incident in which he reached inside the shirt of one of those workers and touched her breasts. 

In response, the Aviation department fired that employee and placed them on the “ineligible for rehire” list. The case is being appealed.

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