Saturday, February 20, 2010

HHAP Asks for $500K

A while back, I had a post about how HHAP (aka Healthy Howard) had 200 participants and that this made Dr. Beilenson's claim that the program played a part in Howard's ranking as one of the healthiest counties incredulous. Well an Anonymous commenter told me that there were "600" participants and that I should "check my facts." I tried! I can find the fundraising numbers of every politico in the state (ring, ring), but I can't get membership stats for a program that our county is throwing money into. Are you telling me that we can't get a ticker that shows us where our money is going?

Well the curtain has opened once again, and the 600 number was pretty close (671). That tells me one of two things: 1) Hello Howard County gubment; or 2) Someone in the know has a source that I can't find. I used to work for the gubment, and I can tell you that if it was the former, be careful. While you may feel like you are protecting the defenseless Dr. Gov, I doubt they want you to be the fountain of government PR. If it was the latter, let's chat.

I'm sorry, but 600 people does not change the health of 274,995 people. I can't even say how much it effects the health of all 600 people! What exactly is a health coach telling these people that 20/20, 60 Minutes, People Magazine, Oprah, and Ellen Degeneres isn't? Fast food - bad. Exercise - good. For those that don't get the paper edition, I will link the article tomorrow. Dr. Gov finally admits that 2,000 in the first year was optimistic...but he has yet to admit that 2,000 in the first TWO years is also out of reach. He barely had 2,000 people apply (2,550)!

People are losing their jobs in this county, Doc. Your people. Your employees. I wonder if they are part of your 2,550? This is not the time for $500,000 more to be pumped into the program. You promised this could operate independent from the county. How? I think we all may be willing to ride this pony a little longer (for a lower price tag) if you would pull back the curtain and give us some more transparency. Otherwise this appears to be the Peter Beilenson, M.D. Employment Program.


  1. Is HHAP asking for another $500K from taxpayers (which would be on top of the $1 million that taxpayers have already put into the program for two fiscal years)?

  2. The article suggests this is an additional $500K on top of the previous funding (most of which has gone towards a PR campaign). Thanks for commenting, FM.

  3. I believe that two years ago when they first discussed Healthy Howard the deal was that this was a onetime $500,000 payment to the plan because it would be privately funded after the first year. I testified two years ago saying that my fear was they would keep coming back for more money each year. It seems like unfortunately I am right. Healthy Howard is a great idea in theory, but it just has not worked out the way it was supposed to.

  4. Actually, HHAP has worked exactly as it was designed to. The problem is that the market segment it was designed to help is virtually non-existent. Therefore, HHAP will always need public subsidy to stay afloat. Ulman and Beilenson did not do their market research homework before investing tax money into HHAP.