Hospital CEO Alisa Coleman said, “(Chairman of the Board Dr. Mike Gross) and the medical staff are strong proponents of this plan. I realize that while we are in the tobacco capital of the world and my family raised it, we have to advocate a healthful lifestyle and have a wellness program. Tobacco compromises the health of patients and staff, even through secondhand smoke. There is a movement by other hospitals and believe it is a good time for us to do it as well. We plan to become smoke-free by January of 2009.”
Coleman said that the plan offered education to hospital staff, physicians and patients on the new rules and offered smoking cessation assistance for those who wanted it.
“The medical staff is in 100 percent agreeance with the policy and wanted me to pass this onto the board,” said Gross.
“We are not making anyone quit, but there will be no smoking on the campus,” said Coleman. “We’ll begin with a survey to find out how many staff members use tobacco products, how often they use and what triggers the use. The smoking cessation programs will offer behavioral and drug treatments at little or no cost if people quit smoking.”
Board Member Ben Cundiff asked why the hospital needed to take the step of adopting the complicated policy rather than hang no-smoking signs and ask staff members to refrain from tobacco use on hospital property.
“We want to have a systematic approach to this plan. We could lose time while the administration deals with complains generated by the complaints. It’s easier with the administrative steps. I remember when there was no more smoking in hospital buildings anymore. People became very upset, physicians usually the most, but we weathered the storm. The educational process takes time.”
The board approved the non-smoking policy without opposition.
In other action, the board agreed to close the hospital’s home health program. Coleman said that the department had little volume and faced manpower shortfalls recently with excused absences by staff members.
Follow the actions of Trigg County Hospital in The Cadiz Record.