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Critical Thinking Analysis - Penn-Mart Healthcare Strategy Analysis

Autor:   •  March 23, 2016  •  Case Study  •  1,814 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,116 Views

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Penn-Mart Healthcare Strategy Analysis



Critical thinking incorporates the elemental abilities of analyzing statements, interpreting arguments using deductive or inductive reasoning, evaluating, and solving problems or formulating decisions. Human beings start developing analytical thinking skills at a very early age.  As adults we often begin to become deficient with those abilities; however, in theory people can be educated to think critically.  According to Browne and Keeley (2012), critical thinking analysis is systematically evaluating what you read and hear.  They argue that utilizing a series of interrelated critical questions will help enable people to develop skills to recognize the best decision available.  The idea is that routinely using these methods will help the process become part of how you routinely think.

Issue and Conclusion

This memorandum is in response to the Penn-Mart Board of Directors tasking of Salvador Monella, SVP of Human Resources, to examine the issue of unfavorable cost trends of employee healthcare benefits.  This an illustration of a prescriptive issue and initiates a discussion on possibly what Penn-Mart must do differently, things that may or may not be working, and what pros or cons exist within their healthcare strategy.  After an internal review, Monella recommends that all employees enrolled in the Penn-Mart company-sponsored health plan be required to conduct mandatory health screenings as part of a new wellness plan (personal communication, January 6, 2014).  The question arises then, should the board accept this conclusion on the basis of his supporting claims?


Next we must examine the argument Monella has presented, and identify and analyze the reasons he uses to support his descriptive conclusion.  The answer to the why question is the evidence he presents in the memorandum (personal communication, January 6, 2014):

Budgetary concerns –

  • benefits and wages consume 40 percent of the annual budget
  • aging workforce and rising average tenure are driving benefits cost up
  • 15 percent of 2015 profits may be lost due to benefits cost

Employee survey results –

  • employees highly satisfied with benefits package   
  • least healthy and productive employees: more satisfied than other segments and interested in longer careers with Penn-Mart
  • higher deductibles for health insurance are opposed by most employees

Underwriter Data –

  • employees who voluntarily neglect their health have the greatest impact on benefits cost increases - smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who defer preventative care
  • Penn-Mart voluntary wellness program has existed for ten years 
  • voluntary wellness program participation peaked at 5% in 2006

Ambiguous Words or Phrases

One cannot respond to an argument without an understanding of important terms and phrases, explicit or implied (Browne & Keeley, 2012).  Interpretation will affect ones’ acceptance of the reasoning behind the argument.  Therefore, before you acknowledge a valid conclusion, the detailed meaning of that conclusion and its’ evidence must be made.  Ambiguity refers to the meaning of a word or phrase being so uncertain that additional clarification is needed before one can decide the suitability of the reason.  


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