During the Prevention Partners’ Annual Meeting earlier this month,
CaroMont Health was recently recognized for providing the highest standard
of excellence for comprehensive wellness programs offered to their employees.
The national award, which celebrates hospitals’ commitment, focus
and creativity in making wellness and healthy places a priority, is shared
with only one other health system in the state.
“We are honored to receive this award,” said Andrea Serra,
Vice President of Community Care Services at CaroMont Health. “It
represents years of commitment from the organization’s leadership
and its employees to enhance individual health and to raise the bar on
health and wellness in the workplace.”
Instituting a culture of health and wellness was something CaroMont embarked
upon nearly four years ago when its Board of Directors modified their
corporate vision statement to include a focus on health enhancement and
prevention. Fueled by the continuous flux in health care, global obesity
issues and the growing chronic disease epidemic, the need for better wellness
and prevention strategies is a trend taking shape across the country and
in Gaston County.
“Gone are the days when we look only at someone’s sickness
when they come to the hospital,” said Serra. “We are not only
treating the symptoms, but looking at optimal treatment options that will
help to prevent future health issues.”
Beginning in 2011, CaroMont’s wellness strategy began incorporating
employee wellness into corporate goals in order to create an environment
to support health workplace wellness. These included: creating employee
incentives for healthy behaviors, redesigning the health benefit structure,
offering clinical health risk assessments and redefining the philosophy
in food services management.
“Health and wellness is a lifestyle,” said Serra. “We
are continually looking for creative ways to encourage health and wellness
for employees by making healthier options and activities more accessible.”
Today, when employees and visitors visit the hospital cafeteria they have
a plethora of healthy and nutritionally balanced meal options at their
disposal. Food is prepared fresh daily and includes a colorful salad bar
with more than 25 items, as well as a sushi bar, vegan corner, various
hot meat and vegetable options, seasonal fruits and vegetables, grill
station, deli station and daily lunch specials. Foods are baked or grilled,
never fried. Nutritional values are visible on most food items to help
patrons identify the healthiest options. Additionally, all vending machines
throughout the hospital are stocked with healthy snacks.
While eating well is important to staying healthy, so is exercise. It’s
not uncommon to find employees taking walks during breaks and at lunch.
Employees are encouraged to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise
before, during and after work. Employees also have access to the CaroMont
Health and Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art gym that offers cardiovascular
equipment, strength-training stations and group fitness classes. The fitness
center extended its services to the community in January of this year.
Other employee wellness programs include: metabolic testing, tobacco cessation,
fit breaks and healthy back classes.
CaroMont Health continues to set the bar for organizational wellness in
terms of programs and incentives for employees, and this dedication also
extends to their work in the community. Last month, CaroMont held the
first annual CaroMont Community Challenge—a run, walk and bike event
aimed to motivate the community to get healthier drawing nearly 800 attendees.
The excellence award also comes on the heels of the Healthiest Employer
Award by the Charlotte Business Journal in which CaroMont surpassed many
larger business and health systems in the greater Charlotte area to receive
the first place distinction as a healthiest employer.