FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital and FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital have been recognized by NC Prevention Partners (NCPP) for providing the highest standard of excellence for comprehensive wellness programs offered to their employees in the areas of nutrition and tobacco-free environments.
Hospitals receiving these acknowledgments are considered “Gold Apple” and “Gold Star” hospital, respectively. Funded by The Duke Endowment, NC Prevention Partners works to improve the health of hospital employees across the state of North Carolina by creating worksite wellness environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
The three hospitals that make up FirstHealth of the Carolinas address how policy, the environment, education, benefits and incentives support healthy employees. The Gold Apple is awarded to hospitals that provide delicious, affordable and healthy foods to all employees all the time. The Gold Star is presented in recognition of the highest standard of excellence for tobacco-cessation programs offered to employees.
“FirstHealth believes in creating an environment that supports employees in healthy lifestyle choices,” Roxanne Elliott, policy director for FirstHealth Community Health Services, said in a statement.
Several years ago, FirstHealth implemented a new pricing structure in its cafeteria and vending machines to increase the price of unhealthy food and beverage choices and decrease the price of healthy food choices in one of many programs started by the hospital system to increase healthy eating and physical activity.
“Our role is to educate our staff and visitors on healthy eating and to provide healthy and nutritious meals,” said Wayne Crawford, director of Food and Nutrition at Moore Regional Hospital.
According to Crawford, Moore Regional has also implemented “theme days” such as No Fry Friday and Meatless Monday to promote healthier food options in its cafeteria.
In 2004, FirstHealth was the first health care system to adopt a comprehensive tobacco-free campus policy.
“In order to assist employees to quit tobacco, FirstHealth offers tobacco-cessation interventions to include classes, one-on-one counseling and nicotine replacement therapy,” Elliott said.
FirstHealth of the Carolinas was one of the first health care organizations in North Carolina to make its campuses 100 percent tobacco-free, and was the first to offer tobacco-cessation services to its employees and to the community.
“FirstHealth of the Carolinas continues to set a high bar of excellence in terms of its employee wellness program,” said Anne Thornhill, director of NC Prevention Partners. “It gives its employees every opportunity to eat healthy and quit tobacco, if needed. I applaud this great effort.”