Jun 29 2011

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Good Shepherd earns new acclaim

Good Shepherd Medical Center (GSMC) is at the top of the American Heart Association’s list of fit-friendly companies.  Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Banos explained what motivated his facility to work hard enough to earn this recognition.
“With the nation’s rise in obesity and the escalating cost of health care, one of Good Shepherd’s priorities is the health of our employees,” he said.
“We are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our efforts to help our employees live healthier lives.”
Known as the Platinum Tier, this highest recognition goes to companies that go to the trouble of measuring the outcomes of their wellness efforts.  GSMC achieved this plateau by:
• Providing walking trails on its grounds.
• Promoting walking programs with online newsletters and tracking tools to motivate employees.
• Offering employee discounts for joining the Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living.
• Offering Lunch Zumba classes on the main Medical Center campus to allow employees an option for fitness that is convenient and accessible.
• Offering healthy options in vending machine selections throughout the hospital and campus.
In its policy statement Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association the association illustrates worksite wellness programs that decrease the incidence of such modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors as smoking, overeating (leading to obesity) high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Fit-Friendly companies achieve the Gold Level through varied activities and programs that advance physical exercise, improved nutrition and such lifestyle adaptations as the walking trails, healthful fare in the cafeteria and vending machines, yearly employee health risk evaluations, and online tracking tools.
The association announced in the Circulation newsletter that companies can save as much as $15 for every $1 they spend on employee health and wellness within twelve to eighteen months of implementing a worksite.  Every employee who works to lower his risk status saves his employing company approximately $53 annually, and this rate of savings is ongoing as that employee maintains his low-risk status.
Gina Terry, RN, is assistant director of Community Outreach Health and Prevention Services at the GSMC Healthy Institute, and she reports adults nowadays spend too much of their time at sedentary jobs.  When employers implement fitness programs they see increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and employee turnover, all because of fit and healthy employees.  She credited GSMC executives for supporting and encouraging their employees for such activities as using stairs instead of elevators.
The Healthy Living Institute currently uses integrated physical, speech and occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, prevention, and wellness education both for members and Good Shepherd patients.  It also offers single, family and senior memberships through insurance companies.  Yet those with limited financial resources and/or are on fixed income have the option of filling out an application with medical referral.
“We do give away scholarships,” said Terry.  “We have a lot that is scholarship, come and fill out the papers to see if you qualify.”
Furthermore, there are over 140 classes available to members.  There is a Licensed Professional Counselor to assist in behavior modification.  There is also nutritional counseling.
GSMC Healthy Institute currently has many good reasons to promote healthy living.  For most Texans the consequences of obesity include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and other diseases. For more information please visit them on line at www.GoodShepherdHealth.org

Gina Terry and Laura McCarter, Health and Prevention Services Executive Director, of the Healthy Institute

Permanent link to this article: http://www.easttexasreview.com/good-shepherd-earns-new-acclaim/

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