Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association and NC Prevention Partners, has recognized Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) as the first non-system hospital to meet its Gold Medal standard. The Gold Medal recognizes hospitals for establishing a culture of wellness where being active is the norm by providing access and opportunity for physical activity during the workday. Funded by the Duke Endowment, informed by NC Prevention Partners’ success in developing infrastructure for effective worksite wellness programs in North Carolina, and managed by the SC Hospital Association, Working Well is an effort to improve the health of hospital employees across the state of South Carolina by creating worksite wellness environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Lack of exercise increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Experts recommend physical activity for at least 30 minutes on all or most days of the week. Working Well seeks to make it easy for people to integrate movement into their everyday lives.
“When the Working Well program was introduced by SCHA, we didn’t hesitate,” said BMH CEO Rick Toomey. “It fits perfectly with our wellness efforts throughout the hospital. We put together a multi-disciplinary team to address the goals of Working Well, and quickly moved toward achieving those goals. I congratulate our team, led by Mark Senn, our LifeFit Wellness director, on staying focused on improving our efforts to promote wellness throughout our hospital and throughout the community.”
By addressing how policy, the environment, education, benefits and incentives support active employees, BMH is meeting the highest standard of excellence for physical activity programs offered to their employees. This award also makes BMH the third in South Carolina to receive recognition for distinction in all three pillars of the Working Well initiative. In order to receive this recognition, BMH implemented several components of a physically active worksite.
“We are fortunate to have such a supportive Board and Administration when it comes to promoting wellness,” said Mark Senn, Working Well team leader. “This program offered by SCHA made it easy for us to move forward in our efforts to promote wellness. Yet, we see this as just the beginning, because we want to continue to improve our efforts and broaden our offerings throughout the community. Continued participation in Working Well will help us do that.”
BMH created and implemented a new physical activity policy which specifically encourages employees to use their two-15 minute paid breaks to be physically active. These breaks can be used to walk the newly extended LifeFit Trail which starts in the Kate Gleason Park, access equipment in the LifeFit Wellness Center, and use the stairs, communicated through point of decision prompts, as a way to incorporate physical activity into the workday. The policy also encourages the use of flex scheduling and regular evaluation to ensure the policy is effective and relevant. Being physically active is encouraged off BMH grounds as well. One example is the Raft Races during the annual Beaufort Water Festival. Being physically active is tied to BMH’s benefit structure which helps to create and sustain a culture of wellness at their facility. The employees of BMH also GET PAID to work out! If they are a member of LifeFit, involved in the wellness program and receive the insurance premium discount, they receive a net profit of $10 per month. These components at BMH are communicated to staff through new employee orientation, flyers, newsletters, bulletin boards, and electronically through email.
“Beaufort Memorial is once again solidifying their position as a Working Well Center of Excellence by not only meeting, but exceeding many elements of the Gold Medal Standard,” said Jen Wright, Working Well Manager. “By achieving the Gold Star for employee quit tobacco systems, Gold Apple for healthy food environment and now the Gold Medal for an environment where being active is the easy norm, BMH is truly implementing a Culture of Wellness. They are setting an example that can be replicated in other Lowcountry businesses and throughout SC.”
On September 17th, Wright presented Toomey and the BMH wellness team with the Gold Medal Award.