Notes from the Road: Greenville Hospital System

Greenville Hospital System (GHS), a WELCOA Well Workplace Gold Award winner, was the final stop for the April site visits.  Lisa Kopera, Wellness Supervisor for the GHS– HealthTrack Employee Wellness Program, hosted the visit that included two of their acute care facilities, Patewood Memorial and Greenville Memorial Hospital.  Through Executive level enforcement of their tobacco free campus policy, close collaboration with their food service, and indoor/outdoor walking trails, GHS is well on their way to establishing a Culture of Wellness on all their campuses.  A return visit for the rest of their facilities will take place later this summer.  Slated stops for May and June include Carolinas Hospital System, Baptist Easley Hospital, Laurens County Hospital System, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and Village Hospital. Site visits are one of the many ways Working Well staff is readily available to assist SC hospitals achieve a Culture of Wellness.

Greenville Hospital System’s employee wellness program, HealthTrack, has been in existence for 15 years guided by Program Supervisor Lisa Kopera.  In their 15 year journey, they have overcome many challenges and achieved many successes.  That being said they are still a work in progress, just like all our SC hospitals.  GHS provides a very comprehensive and hands on employee wellness program including an annual HRA, biometric screenings, education, and disease management programs all at no cost to their employees and tied into their benefit structure for insurance premium and prescription med discounts.  They have also created an environment supportive of healthy behaviors.

Their food environment uses nutrition information, product placement of healthy items in prominent locations and pricing structure to make the cost of healthy food less expensive in both their cafeteria and vending to encourage healthy food choices.  They provide campus fitness centers for their large campuses and have partnered with the YMCA to provide access to physical activity for their smaller campuses.  An indoor and outdoor walking trail has been marked out at each facility and maps are displayed and provided to all.  The enforcement system regarding their tobacco free campus policy appears to be working quite well.  During the tours, not one person was seen violating the policy (not even in the ED parking lot or loading dock) and even more impressive only one cigarette butt was seen over 2 large campuses.  Some examples of their system include prominent signage at all campus entrances, smoking cessation classes and nicotine replacement therapy available at no charge to employees, baskets of lollipops with quit tobacco resources in all their buildings, most importantly an extremely supportive executive team.

When asked about the keys to GHS employees active involvement and buy-in to this ideal, two things were mentioned…communication and branding.  The communication effort at GHS is very extensive and includes postcards mailed home, emails, flyers, and a visible presence.  Employee Wellness expectations are introduced in orientation, and the HealthTrack team is constantly visible through their traveling information carts and information booths.  The second key, branding, has been accomplished by “weaving wellness into everything,” as Lisa stated.  Their HealthTrack icon is used consistently and abundantly.  Consulting with committees regarding Meaningful Use, and involvement in the architectural review committee are some other ways they have connected wellness to the necessary functioning of the hospital system.

With all their achievements, GHS’s next goal to solidify their “Culture of Wellness” is to put policies in place for physical activity and nutrition that support their programming, systems, and environment. They have been able to add an on campus farmer’s market this year and are currently working on drafting policies.  Keep up the great work GHS!

If you’d like to learn from Lisa and the HealthTrack team at Greenville Hospital System, let the Working Well staff know and we’ll help make the contact.

Site visits may include presentations to Executive Management, wellness team meetings, campus tours to take a look at tobacco signage, food environments, and any availability for physical activity that exists for employees.  Hospitals are encouraged to take this time to brag about their successes as well as share any existing barriers to give a clear picture of how Working Well can be most effective.  Site visits are available and encouraged for any SC hospital and can also be beneficial to achieve Executive buy-in if getting a CEO Commitment form submitted has been a challenge.  To schedule a site visit contact Jen Wright, Working Well Manager.

05-24-2011 10:10 (EDT)