"The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Council) has not made a formal ruling on this," he said, adding frankly, that lawyers have told him "it's a gray area," and could become an issue or rallying cry with labor unions.
In an interview after his talk to the AHA audience, Heller said that participants in Baptist's sponsored Weight Watchers incentive program boasted an 11-pound average annual weight loss and a two-point drop in BMI for 650 participants.
But the hospital system has much more aggressive goals. Now, cost increases for health benefits average 9% a year, but in the next few years, they hope to reduce that to a mere 2% increase.
"Our workers need a partner, someone they can count on. It's peer pressure, and a positive experience with someone else. The probability of success is significantly greater," Heller said.
The AHA Leadership Summit runs through Tuesday. About 1,300 people are attending, organizers say.