Executive physicals have long been considered a perk that's also necessary for the health of corporate leaders. But some critics say they're ineffective -- not to mention inequitable.
The CEO's stress test revealed nothing abnormal. But because of his family history and other risk factors, clinicians looked at the calcium in his coronary arteries, which proved alarmingly high. A catheterization showed significant artery blockage and, during the same procedure, stents were inserted to open up three vessels.
However, Dr. Deborah Rhodes, director of the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic's executive-health program, says an unpublished pilot study of Mayo patients shows about 5 percent were diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease and that more than one-third had a previously undiagnosed "severe" condition.
"I agree that there are probably no good scientific data (on executive physical programs), but that doesn't mean the programs are harmful, wasteful or of no benefit," she says. "Not all inherent truths are proven in the scientific literature. There's no data to support [Rank's] position, either."
Human Resource Executive Magazine by Harvey Meyer, 10/16/09