Reinforcing its commitment to the wellness of both its employees and the community, Parma Community General Hospital will no longer hire smokers, effective March 1, 2010.
“Wellness is a choice and a personal responsibility,” said Larry Jeffries, senior director of
Human Resources at Parma Hospital. “Parma Hospital wants its employees to model the
healthy behaviors we teach our patients.”
The policy change coincides with an emphasis on wellness to improve the quality of life for
employees. The extensive offerings include:
- Opening WellFit, a new employee fitness center, in January 2009
- Hiring of a Wellness Coordinator to manage WellFit, organize wellness initiatives like fitness and weight loss contests, perform individualized fitness evaluations, teach exercise classes
- Launching contests like the Biggest Loser Challenge, in which 217 employees are competing to lose significant weight and transform their lives
- Substantial changes to the Cafeteria selections, with lower-fat, lower-sodium alternatives
- A 30 percent discount for employees at all exercise and mind/body wellness classes offered through the hospital’s Health Education Center
- An incentive program that pays cash to employees who receive preventive screenings through the hospital-sponsored medical insurance plan
- Smoking cessation support for existing employees
Employees hired prior to March 1, 2010, will not be affected by the change. Those seeking
employment will be required to take a nicotine test as part of the pre-employment physical
examination. The result of the test must be negative. Any job candidate who incurs a positive
result will be offered smoking cessation resources and may be reconsidered 90 days later if
their retest is negative.
Smoking was banned on the hospital campus and at all of its off-site facilities in 2006. That
same year, Parma Hospital was recognized with a statewide award for its commitment to
advancing employee health and was named among the region’s Healthy 50, honoring the most
forward-thinking companies in promoting health and wellness in the workplace.
“Parma Hospital has a long-term commitment to both the health of its patients and of its
employees,” says President & CEO Patricia A. Ruflin. “With our leadership in protecting and
enhancing the health of our community comes a responsibility that we take seriously.”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in this country, accounting for one out of
every five deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Secondhand smoke also
causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Lung cancer accounts for the largest percentage of
cases at the Cancer Center at Parma Hospital.