According to CNN.com, Citizens Medical Center, located in Victoria, Texas, has implemented a new hiring policy, which the policy requires employees to have a BMI of less than 35, according to the Texas Tribune newspaper.
According to experts, this policy is legal, however, it certainly is not right.
During an interview with the Texas Tribune, Citizens Medical Center CEO David Brown said, “We have the ability as an employer to characterize our process and to have a policy that says what is best for our business and for our patients.”
What is best for your patients is to hire the most qualified and hard-working employees, who will properly care for their patients to their fullest extent.
The doctor may appear to be a hypocrite when he tells a patient to lose weight, but does not make him or her any less of a good doctor.
Quite frankly, I really would not care how fit or overweight my doctor is if he saved my life. As long as his health does not physically affect his ability to be a doctor, I see no reason why you have to be fit to work at the hospital.
Overweight people are stigmatized enough in society. Now they are being stigmatized in the work force as well?
It is wrong.
And what happens after the applicants are hired?
If the pressure was high on applicants before they were hired, what will the pressure be like after they become an employee?
Several critics and myself believe this could lead to a very unhealthy work environment.
Instead of focusing on their jobs and their patient’s health, the employees will be paranoid about gaining any weight and the threat that they could lose their job because of it. This could only lead to eating disorders, bullying and an overwhelming amount of stress in an already stressful environment.
Other critics have argued that this is a sneaky way to keep the hospital’s healthcare costs down.
I hope this is just a paranoid scheme, but I am pretty confident that they may be on to something.
The healthcare bill requiring all employers to provide healthcare to their full-time employees, is not a cheap request.
Obesity and the health problem as a consequence of that can cause a higher health insurance cost, which most employers will not be happy to cover — this is especially true for something that can be avoided, like obesity.
However, narrowing your employment field to only those who are within a certain BMI, is not worth saving those extra dollars.
In the long run, if you consistently turn away highly qualified applicants because they are too overweight, you may eventually lead to a lower quality hospital.