Notes from the Road: Cannon Memorial, Marlboro Park, Tuomey, and Carolina Pines

Cannon Memorial, Marlboro Park, Tuomey, and Carolina Pines all welcomed Working Well for site visits in late August and September.  Each of these facilities is at a different place in the implementation of their employee wellness program; however each is equally dedicated to the health and well being of their employees.  Wellness teams were eager to learn about all the ways Working Well’s resources can help them identify focus areas, prioritize action steps, seamlessly intertwine to enhance their existing employee wellness program, and ultimately achieve their goal of a Culture of Wellness.  Site visits are one of the many ways Working Well staff is readily available to assist SC hospitals achieve a Culture of Wellness. Check out Cannon Memorial, Marlboro Park, Tuomey, and Carolina Pines!

Cannon Memorial Hospital is in Pickens, SC.  It is a very exciting, and busy time for the Wellness Team at Cannon Memorial, headed up by Amanda Dow and Ami Hinckle.  They kicked off their new incentive based employee wellness program in September!  Prior to this, Cannon was able to offer employees a few options like free fitness classes at the Rec building through a partnership with the City and a health fair, but a comprehensive, incentive based program was lacking…until now.

Their new program will focus on education and lifestyle change, complete with a monetary incentive for meeting required elements of the program.  These elements include lab work, a physical, Health Risk Assessment, and a 1 on 1 meeting with the Employee Health Nurse with subsequent follow up when needed.  The involvement of Employee Health is key, as it serves to identify individuals battling chronic health issues and serves as a 1 on 1 disease management program.  The incentive tie in is purely participation based.  Employees must show through active involvement in their own self care throughout the program year that they qualify for the incentive. Nutrition counseling and discounted prescription meds are just two ways Cannon is making it more convenient for their employees to comply with medical management of their chronic health issues.

Cannon Memorial’s Dietary department is self managed.  They have a campus garden that provides fresh produce for use in their cafeteria during the growing season.  Nutritional information is not currently being displayed at food stations because nutritional analysis software is not something they have access to.  This is, however, something they will look into for the future, potentially partnering with a friendly hospital close by.  The Nutrition Toolbox in WHA provides a great resource for evaluating cost to function for nutritional software, should purchase of software be an option, Nutrition Analysis Software Comparison Chart.  Like many hospital cafeterias, limited hours of operation are a challenge in offering fresh, healthy food options to all shifts.  To overcome this obstacle, they are looking into providing refrigerated vending for healthy grab and go items in the future.  Employees also have an opportunity to participate in an onsite Weight Watchers program at a discounted rate.

There are many ways for Cannon Memorial’s employees to access and participate in physical activity.  There are the free fitness classes mentioned earlier, a partnership with the local YMCA offering discounted membership fees, and a campus walking path.  This walking path is a beautiful and serene landscape winding through parts of campus with benches and markers at every quarter mile for distance tracking.  Employees as well as community members were seen taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity for fitness.

Cannon Memorial was one of the first SC hospitals to adopt a tobacco free policy years ago.  Their policy is enforced as any other policy would be.  There is a bit of a challenge with enforcement since there is no campus security. However, the empowerment of employees to address policy violators was discussed as a potential solution.  The SC Quitline is used as a resource for employees and onsite smoking cessation classes are a consideration for the future.  There is no tobacco surcharge currently being used as a disincentive to smokers.

As we know, communication is crucial in any initiative and Cannon Memorial is on top of it. A communication survey is being disseminated to employees to identify forms of communication that are most effective.  Monthly Wellness Forums are held throughout all shifts to present education on certain topics, hold discussions, etc.  Bulletin boards are used in the main campus as well as to keep two off site medical offices in the know.  Adding a wellness champion from each of the offsite locations is a plan for the future to further enhance communication and active participation among employees.

Good luck to Cannon Memorial with their brand new comprehensive, incentive based employee wellness program!


Marlboro Park Hospital is situated in Bennetsville, SC.  Their wellness program is also in its infancy, but the motivation to grow into a more comprehensive program is evident.  Dedicated wellness staff is difficult for many smaller hospitals, but Marlboro Park has found a way to dedicate specified days/hours each week for Miranda Williamson to focus her time on just that.  Miranda is new to her role, but excited and eager to learn from best practices others have to share!

The Apex wellness program is available to all Marlboro Park employees for a very low membership rate that is payroll deducted each pay period for those committed to the program.  Elements of the program include access to an onsite fitness room, biometric screening, lab work, and a Health Risk Assessment.  Upon successful completion of these elements, employees are awarded partial reimbursement of their membership rate.  Currently there is no health insurance benefit tie in or tobacco surcharge being used as incentive for the program but successful examples of this throughout SC could help Marlboro Park get to that point.

Employees desiring nutrition counseling have access to a Registered Dietitian at no cost to the employee.  This is a very valuable benefit.  Nutrition labeling is not currently in use in the cafeteria, nor are pricing strategies or product placement being used to identify and encourage purchase of healthy items.  These are all things being considered for the future.  A salad bar is available at every meal and Healthy Dining tip cards are displayed in the cafeteria offering helpful tips on what to look for in a healthy item and how to ask for things to be made in a healthful manner.

The on campus Wellness Center is available to employees 24/7 with an access code.  There are a few cardio machines and some light weights to use.  Access to this is included in participation in the APEX program.  Several fitness centers in the local area have been contacted requesting partnerships to offer employees a discounted rate, but due to the small volume of employees and inability to guarantee a specific volume of membership so far the facilities are unwilling to work with them.  If anyone has had success with a similar situation, please contact Jen so we can help Miranda.  Another project in the works is to mark and map an existing ½ mile loop around the hospital campus to help encourage employees to utilize it during the workday.

Marlboro Park has a tobacco free campus policy which is communicated to everyone by good sign placement at the entrance to all parking areas.  On our campus tour it was clear that the signs were due for some updating as the SC sun and weather has significantly faded a lot of them.  Human Resources manage the enforcement of the tobacco free policy regarding employees and standard policy violation performance management steps are taken when necessary.  There is no perceived problem with employee violations; however the consistency of enforcement throughout all departments is unknown at this time.  Tobacco cessation opportunities are not currently being offered on campus, but are being looked into by wellness staff.  Using the SC Quitline will offer assistance to employees and can be implemented right away.  The implementation of a tobacco surcharge has worked successfully throughout hospitals in SC and could potentially be a great addition to Marlboro Park to create a first level of benefit tie in to their wellness program.


Tuomey Healthcare  Working Well was welcomed to beautiful downtown Sumter, SC by Curt Ackerman, Director of Industrial Medicine and Wellness, William Renwick, Vice President, and Jill Williamson, Executive Assistant for Tuomey Healthcare's site visit. Tuomey’s employee wellness program includes many elements of a comprehensive program.  Preventative exams, screenings, education, a tobacco surcharge, and a robust disease management program called Health Guides are all part of the package for those covered under the hospital’s insurance plan.  A detailed review of their own claims data is what drove the program’s start and even resulted in the hire of a Care Manager specifically for the Health Guides program to focus on the chronic disease management opportunities for their employees.  Current chronic conditions encompassed in Health Guides are diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, asthma, and acid reflux.

The tobacco free campus policy includes standard progressive disciplinary action for violators, just as any policy violation would.  Employees are empowered to speak to violators as well as notify security if necessary.  Signs are posted at parking deck entrances, walkways to the hospital, and in the ER parking lot.  With the size of the parking decks, additional signage throughout would be beneficial to increase the likelihood of the message being received.  While there are many advantages to Tuomey being situated in downtown Sumter, which will be covered in the physical activity section, its lcoation creates some challenges for a tobacco free environment.  Unfortunately there is a local property owner who has given permission to use the back of an old building near campus as an unofficial smoking area.  Since it is technically off campus and employees are following policy by clocking out, this calls for some creativity.  This could be a perfect opportunity to add language to the dress code policy prohibiting the presence of tobacco odor on employees while at work.  This policy language has worked very successfully in many hospitals across SC in deterring employees from using tobacco products during the work day, which can be the first step in assisting them lead a tobacco free life.  The addition of tobacco cessation classes with the inclusion of over the counter NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) has also been very effective with our Gold Star Hospitals.

The dietary services are self managed and include 4 dietitians.  These dietitians are also involved in the Health Guides disease management program.  Healthy options in the cafeteria include a salad bar, deli bar, and 100 calorie snack options.  Menus and email communication are used to identify healthy meals. There are also some healthy items available in the vending machines.  Nutrition information cards are present at food stations in the cafeteria and the addition of an icon would help with branding the wellness program while simplifying the identification of healthy options in all food environments.

Tuomey’s employee fundraising campaign this past year focused on the implementation of walking trails around campus and connecting to the newly revitalized downtown Sumter.  This is being done in cooperation with the City of Sumter and will include signage and maps.  An exercise room is currently available to employees at no cost and an upgrade plan is in the works.  A partnership with the local YMCA has been developed to offer memberships to employees with a waived initiation fee.  Employee groups are doing self guided yoga and P90X classes on campus as well. Pedometers are offered to any interested employee to further encourage them to get moving.

A Newsletter is published every other month by the PR/Marketing department and features articles to encourage healthy choices, along with resources on how to do so.  It also highlights individual employee success in achieving health goals as well as featuring departmental competitions.

Tuomey is on the right track in a lot of ways.  Expanding out to look at policy, system, environment, and further health insurance benefit tie in will further enhance the comprehensive nature of the program and no doubt boost employee buy-in and participation.


Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center is an HMA owned hospital in Hartsville, SC.  The Carolina Pines Executive Team including CEO, COO, CNO, HR, and Education, along with Johnna Shirley, PR/Marketing, and Kim Alton, Dietary Director started off the visit.  Strong support was evident by engagement in discussion, thought provoking questions, and the COO’s personal commitment to fitness leading the way.  This will be a critical key in the enhancement and sustainability of the hospital’s employee wellness efforts, especially since there is no current corporate wellness program with benefit links or incentives through their parent company who manages their benefits, HMA.  There is a monetary annual allotment with no deductible to cover age appropriate preventative screenings and wellness exams.  That is most definitely a step in the right direction that Carolina Pines plans to market more heavily to their employees.

The employee wellness team is led by dietitian Kim Alton and is primarily comprised of the “Associate Team” members.  WELCOA’s monthly newsletter and free resources are often referenced for ideas on promotional campaigns and nutrition/physical activity challenges.  Participants in challenges can earn wellness appropriate incentives for successful completion of challenge criteria.  Different challenges are run throughout the year to help keep the employees engaged.  A stairwell campaign, started a few months ago, includes point of decision prompts and rotating posters in the stairwells with tips and quotes providing motivation for stair use to see what was new.  Positive feedback was received from staff and physicians, some physicians even saying they used the tips they saw on the posters to help their patients!  This is a definite best practice implemented by Carolina Pines.  A partnership with the YMCA provides employees with no initiation fee and the ability to payroll deduct monthly membership fees.  There is a ½ mile loop on campus that is in the process of being marked and mapped.  A newly formed partnership with the local Boy Scouts will result in projects to beautify existing trails on acres of land to the back of the hospital property.  The hope is to unify these trials with the campus trail through makers and mapping.

The Dietary department is self managed and uses a Sodexo purchasing partnership. Very soon their menu planning will go to a 5-6 week calendar. This along with the request for nutritional analysis software will make it much easier to promote healthy menu options and identify them through nutrition labeling.  The development of a branding icon to use for all areas of employee wellness will also help with easy identification. Some product placement to encourage healthy purchases is in place. The cereal and snack bag racks have healthy options at the top and very visible. There are also identified rows in the food vending machines labeled with an icon from the vending company containing healthy options. A goal of the dietary department is to establish a veggie and herb garden on campus to bring fresh seasonal options to the menu. For those employees needing some nutrition and weight management help, MNT (medical nutrition therapy) is available at no charge to the employee with a physician referral.

Carolina Pines is a tobacco free campus and signs denoting this are visible at the main entrance drive as well as forks branching from the main drive into parking areas. There would be benefit to additional signs on grass medians throughout parking lots as those are clear areas of policy violation, employee and emergency room parking in particular.  As with many other facilities, ED and night shift violations are most prominent. The addition of tobacco odor language in the dress code policy may help this issue. Security is the main enforcer of the policy, but it is recommended to empower employees through training and resources to do so as well. There is no current tobacco cessation program or NRT offered on campus; however the desire to revitalize the Fresh Start cessation program is present. The plan to bring the Pharmacy Director on board will form a great partnership in potentially making NRT available to those that commit to the program.

Through continued executive level support and the drive that exists within the core members of the wellness team, there is no doubt Carolina Pines will be able to enhance their wellness culture. Carolina Pines can also use Working Well and the sharing opportunities among the hospitals committed to this initiative for help along the way.

In the coming months, Working Well will continue its site visit journey through SC, making stops at three hospitals within the Greenville Hospital System, three Roper St. Francis Healthcare Hospitals and Oconee Medical Center. So remember to reserve your spot by contacting Jen

09-28-2011 03:16 (EDT)