The income umbrella (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Health Care Finance Division at the Kansas Department of Health & Environment has come up with an interesting strategy for reducing the impact of disability: It hired a consulting firm to educate health care providers about the health risks of unemployment and the benefits of preventing needless disability.

Nathan Bainbridge, a department legislative liaison, talked about the program in written testimony he gave to the state Senate Commerce Committee.

“The target audience was physicians and other clinicians who provide advice to their patients and sign benefits forms,” Bainbridge said.

Of course: In this terrible economy, a lot of workers actually come to work in states such that no sane employer would want the workers at work.

Some employers might be better off with a “Stay home when you may have the bubonic plague” program  than a “Get off the couch” program.

But, even today, there may be exhausted, overworked physicians out there who would love to have a whole day off and can’t quite grasp the concept that going for extended periods without working might be as bad for many people as eating poorly or going without sleep.

Of course, it’s hard to sort cause from effect, but, if an honest consulting firm can really come up with respectable, bipartisan-type data showing that disability-related unemployment is often bad for people, maybe it would be good to try to spread that data to everyone, not just physicians.

Spread the message through the same kinds of product-placement campaigns and grassroots marketing campaigns used to fighting smoking and driving while drunk.

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