Working Well Initiative recognizes Georgetown Hospital System for system-wide efforts to support employee wellness

GEORGETOWN, SC – November 21, 2011 – Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association and NC Prevention Partners, has recognized Georgetown Hospital System as the first hospital system in South Carolina to meet two of its highest awards – the Gold Apple and the Gold Star.  The awards recognize the healthy food environment and the tobacco cessation programs provided to employees at Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Waccamaw Community Hospital. Funded by The Duke Endowment, managed by SC Hospital Association, and informed by NC Prevention Partners’ success in developing infrastructure for effective worksite wellness programs in North Carolina, Working Well is an effort to improve the health of hospital employees across the state of South Carolina by creating worksite wellness environments that support hospital employees’ healthy choices.

The employee wellness programs at Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Waccamaw Community Hospital have been well established for many years, but engagement with Working Well helped Georgetown Hospital System identify several opportunities to further support their employees’ health and wellbeing.  In the cafeteria, the nutrition value of different dishes is identified by the color of their plates, with the healthiest items being served on green plates, and red plates reserved for items best indulged in infrequently. New vending machines and a reduced price salad bar offer an increased number of affordable, healthy food options. 

A two pronged benefits program incentivizes employees to make healthy choices.  Tobacco-free employees who participate in the wellness plan pay a lower premium for their health insurance.  At the same time, employees accrue points by participating in a variety of wellness programs offered by Georgetown Hospital System.  Employees who accumulate the necessary points and meet identified wellness goals receive a cash award with each paycheck. 
The wellness program also reaches out to tobacco users to assess their readiness to quit and share available resources.  In order to help all employees become tobacco-free, Georgetown Hospital System offers over-the-counter and prescription cessation medications free of charge, and cessation classes are offered on-site.  These benefits are also provided to employees’ spouses. 

Jen Wright, Working Well manager with the South Carolina Hospital Association recognized the work that Georgetown Hospital System has done to address tobacco use and unhealthy eating as important steps in supporting healthier employees and creating a healthier South Carolina during a presentation to hospital administrators and the wellness team on Tuesday, November 15.  "The wellness team at Georgetown Hospital System has done an exemplary job developing benefits, policies, and environments that help make healthier choices easier for all employees throughout Georgetown Hospital System.  These changes will make a significant impact in improving population health by reducing preventable illness and early death caused by tobacco use and poor nutrition,” Wright said.

“Georgetown Hospital System is serving as a role model to other hospital systems by meeting the highest standards for healthy food environments and employee tobacco cessation programs at both of their hospitals."  Georgetown Hospital System CEO, Bruce Bailey added, “This is a great accomplishment. Thanks to everyone for making this happen for GHS but more importantly our patients and staff.”


About NC Prevention Partners:

NC Prevention Partners is a leader in reducing preventable illness and early death in North Carolina caused by tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity. We helped North Carolina’s acute care hospitals go 100% tobacco free campus wide. We help employers create healthier workplaces, reduce costs and increase use of preventive health insurance benefits. Our mission as a non-profit is “Prevention first for a healthier North Carolina.” 

About the South Carolina Hospital Association

Founded in 1921, the South Carolina Hospital Association 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.

11-28-2011 12:00 (EST)