It's a rare day that I don't have a conversation with someone who's trying to get a handle on a patient population, be it ACO participants or the chronically ill, because that's where it's all headed-taking population health to a grand scale to cut that fat off the national budget. But I've had very few discussions about problems with a very expensive and perplexing patient population-hospital employees.

Thomson Reuters released a pretty well-publicized report in September that showed hospital workers-and their dependents-are doing a dismal job of staying fit. Their illness burden is 8.6 percent higher than the U.S. workforce at large and they have higher rates of asthma, diabetes and other chronic conditions; they were 22 percent more likely to make an emergency department visit; the average annual health care costs for hospital workers and their dependents is $4,662, which is $538 higher than the general population.

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