Humboldt General Hospital employees are going to put in practice what healthcare preaches through a new wellness program set to debut this week.
The HGH Employee Wellness initiative was announced to the hospital's more than 180 employees earlier this month in what HGH Wellness Coordinator Melissa House called a new beginning for herself and co-workers.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer this program to our employees," said House. "We know the benefits that will come and we're excited for improved health for both individual employees as well as for the organization as a whole."
House said she was encouraged to establish the wellness program by HGH CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish. "I think we agree that not only do we all need to accept responsibility for our current health status," said House, "but we also need to become proactive in making improvements to our health and well-being."
The program builds on one that House established when she came to work for HGH in 2007. This time, though, the program will be more expansive, and it comes at no cost to employees.
The goal, said House, is to help employees change unhealthy lifestyle behaviors through better nutrition, stress management, increased fitness, decreased injuries and lowered risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Counseling also will be available for those who wish to quit smoking.
The benefits to HGH are myriad, said CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish. "Not only will we improve morale, performance and productivity, but we will cut health care costs and improve our company image," he said.
Parrish added, "We need to model the kind of healthy and preventative behaviors we're asking of our patients; we need to lead out in our mission to help our community be healthier."
The program, which kicks off Thursday, September 1, is offered to all regular full-time and part-time employees. Participants have to officially enroll in the program by completing a paperwork packet, which is entered into a computer program that will track individuals' progress.
Participants will begin with a baseline evaluation, which they will use to determine their wellness goals for that year. Individuals will then track their progress using a set schedule. A final evaluation will be conducted at the end of each program year to determine progress.
"Then we'll begin with the next year," said House. "Our goal will be to continue to help each employee increase their wellness during each program period."
On an annual basis, each employee will receive a physical, a blood screening and a flu shot-all free of charge. Other benefits include one free mammogram each year for women age 35 and over, annual EKG and spirometry tests and a comprehensive wellness evaluation that includes body composition, blood pressure, a fitness evaluation and a nutrition evaluation.
Employees also will have 24-hour access to an on-campus, employees-only fitness center that will allow them to fit exercise into their sometimes odd and variable schedules.
House and Parrish both agree the hospital's program will provide a ready model for other businesses and organizations in the community who are ready to prioritize wellness for their employees.
"I think what we've created here can work in many different locations and with many different groups," said Parrish. "Whether it's taking on the whole model, with the help of Humboldt General Hospital, or simply placing a greater emphasis on overall wellness, I think we need to see this as a new beginning for increased health in our community."
House agreed. "By establishing this wellness program, we are taking the first steps toward ensuring the health of our employees."
She added, "With this program, the health of Humboldt General Hospital's employees becomes a serious priority for us, and we extend an invitation to others to make their health and wellness a priority as well."
For more information on Humboldt General Hospital's Employee Wellness Program or to discuss the creation of a similar wellness model at your local business or organization, please contact HGH Wellness Coordinator Melissa House at (775) 623-5222, ext. 258.