Georgetown Hospital System First in Nation to Meet Gold Medal Standard

Learn how they established a culture where being active is the norm by providing access & opportunity for physical activity.

COLUMBIA, SC – February 15, 2012 – Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association and NC Prevention Partners, has recognized the hospitals affiliated with Georgetown Hospital System (GHS) as the first in the nation 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. Bruce Bailey, CEO of Georgetown Hospital System, applauded the GHS wellness team for developing a robust employee wellness program. “Our most important asset is our employees and a concerted effort is made by all to be examples of health and wellness to the community members we serve,” Bailey said. “The team has worked really hard and is extremely proud of the program they have developed. We are confident it will make a difference in our employees’ health and their lives as well as be a model for other employers to use in their efforts to improve the health of their work force."

By addressing how policy, the environment, education, benefits and incentives support active employees, Georgetown Hospital System is meeting the highest standard of excellence for physical activity programs offered to their employees. This award also makes Georgetown Hospital System the first in South Carolina to receive recognition for distinction in all three pillars of the Working Well initiative. In order to receive this recognition, Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Waccamaw Community Hospital implemented several components of a physically active worksite.

A new hospital policy demonstrates commitment to a “system wide culture of employee wellness and safety” and specifically encourages employees to use paid breaks and other approved working hours to pursue wellness activities, such as fitness assessments, physical activity, and weight management programs. On-site walking trails, Zumba classes, yoga classes, wellness stairwells and employee wellness challenges provide the opportunity for hospital employees to be active while at work. The structure of the GHS medical insurance plan and employee wellness plans also incentivize employees to be physically active and engage in other preventive health behaviors. Employees who reach the highest level of engagement in the wellness program, receive a bonus payment of $32 every pay period, which fully covers the cost of medical insurance offered by GHS.

“Georgetown Hospital System is proving once again that they are innovators and rightfully named a Working Well Center of Excellence. Implementing a culture of wellness is no easy feat. However, when others shied away from the challenge of integrating physical activity into the workday, Georgetown stepped up determined to find a way,” commented Jen Wright, Working Well Manager with the South Carolina Hospital Association. “We are thrilled they have done so with their comprehensive Culture of Wellness policy and system approach to employee wellness. It seems they have the Midas touch, every element of Working Well they have taken on has turned to gold.”

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NC Prevention Partners is a state and national leader in guiding schools, hospitals and workplaces to improve their culture of wellness by improving policies and environments that address tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. For more information, please visit our website.

South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Columbia, SCHA works with its members to improve access, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all South Carolinians. The state’s hospitals and health care systems employ more than 70,000 persons statewide.

Georgetown Hospital System is a private, not-for-profit entity. The system consists of Georgetown Memorial Hospital, Waccamaw Community Hospital and several facilities throughout Horry and Georgetown Counties. For more information about Georgetown Hospital System, please visit our website.