Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CHRISTUS' Continued Focus on Wellness

The findings of Futures Task Force II support CHRISTUS’ focus on the growth of our non-acute and international programs and services, with continued support for acute care. As we consider an era of health care reform and what will be required to adequately care for all Americans, it is clear that a focus on wellness and prevention will be important as well.

To this end, CHRISTUS is continually implementing and/or expanding programs and services that aim to improve the wellness of our Associates, residents, patients and their families.

Today, I am in Beaumont, Texas, attending the opening of the first CHRISTUS Healthy Living™ Spa – Murad Inclusive Health Center®. This spa is located on the campus of CHRISTUS Hospital – St. Elizabeth, and is part of our retail services and wellness initiatives. The spa provides traditional services such as massage, manicures, pedicures, non-invasive face lifts, facials and body waxing as well as other treatments such as laser skin treatments, laser hair removal and ILP skin rejuvenation. The medical spa is overseen by a physician on staff who serves as its medical director, which allows for more complicated cosmetic procedures to be performed safely and effectively.

In addition, at the CHRISTUS system level and in many of our regions, Associates who participate in CHRISTUS’ Healthy Habits program online must earn wellness credits to receive a reduction for their FY 2010 benefits plan year, as well as a cash reward. Associates can earn wellness credits by participating in healthy living programs and challenges together with a wellness assessment that will allow them to identify unhealthy behaviors such as high stress and obesity and to address them with intensive online counseling, coaching and training.

Many Associates also choose to participate in healthy activities taking place outside CHRISTUS facilities that raise awareness about our brand. Associates from CHRISTUS Hospital and CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital participated in Start! Heart Walks in their communities, which raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association (AHA) and its research. These Associates raised funds for an important cause while presenting important information about the hospitals’ wellness services. CHRISTUS St. Joseph Villa and CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital have also participated in the AHA’s Start! at Work program, an at-work walking program which aims to increase Associates’ fitness levels. CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center will begin this program in March. In fact, the AHA named CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital a “Gold Level Fit Friendly Company” in 2008 for their on-site walking route, healthy nutrition choices and online wellness program. Many other CHRISTUS facilities also offer weight management or healthy living programs to their Associates.

Many CHRISTUS regions also sponsor wellness events in their communities that offer free health screenings, seminars and training programs. Some of these events target women’s health specifically; as an example, CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital formed a Women’s Health Network in the fall of 2008. CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center allows women who get a mammogram in the first six weeks of the calendar year to purchase a VIP pass to their Day of Beauty event. CHRISTUS Health Southeast Texas will offer its second annual LiveWell Women’s Conference on May 7. This event includes an address by keynote speaker Paula Deen of the Food Network, health screenings and more than 20 workshops covering topics from forgiveness to insomnia.

Many regions are also investing in employer wellness networks with local businesses in their communities. These allow our CHRISTUS entities to bring health information, health fairs, health screenings and educational sessions to other local businesses.

As CHRISTUS moves forward with increasing our focus on wellness, we may institute other changes to our foundational documents which make this concentration abundantly clear to our Associates, communities and everyone we serve.

No comments: