Dr. Ernie Fletcher, former Governor of Kentucky, has teamed up with Pikeville Medical Center to enhance the hospital’s highly recognized Wellness Program, promote healthier lifestyles and advance the medical care for Kentucky’s citizens.
As a physician, the health of the people of Kentucky has always been of great importance to Dr. Fletcher. While in office, the Governor’s Office of Wellness and Physical Activity took a more prominent role and eventually created the Get Healthy Kentucky program. Impressed with the efforts of Pikeville Medical Center’s own wellness program, Dr. Fletcher visited the hospital on multiple occasions to see for himself how one organization could inspire employees to overcome the negative effects of smoking, weight gain, cholesterol and many other unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Pikeville Medical Center offers employees one of the most comprehensive benefit plans of any employer in Kentucky and has twice been recognized as one of the best places to work in the state of Kentucky. The Wellness Program provides an added bonus of a financial incentive for reaching specific health goals. Employees who participate undergo a health assessment and are challenged to alter their lifestyle choices to improve their health, reduce the need for medical attention and inspire their loved ones to become healthier. Pikeville Medical Center provides participants with the tools and encouragement they need to achieve success, such as smoking cessation medications and enrollment in weight loss programs. Pikeville Medical Center believes it will reduce employee’s health insurance costs by between $750,000.00 and $1,000,000.00 annually as a direct result of this program.
The inaugural event attracted 554 participants. Six months later, 338 received checks for achieving their goals. Currently, 841 employees are challenging themselves to become healthier. In such a short time, hundreds of employees have benefitted financially, but more importantly are healthier today because of the concern of Pikeville Medical Center for their wellbeing.
More than 200 employees reduced their body mass index (lost significant weight), 45 reduced their cholesterol to normal levels, 59 others lost weight, reduced their cholesterol to normal and quit smoking, and another 29 kicked the habit and are now smoke free. The hospital rewarded each of these employees with a $500 bonus for achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
As a leader in health care, Pikeville Medical Center was the first hospital in eastern Kentucky to go completely smoke free campus-wide on January 1, 2008. Joining the Get Healthy Kentucky initiative to reduce tobacco addiction, Pikeville Medical Center provides admitted patients with nicotine replacement therapy while hospitalized and continued support through smoking cessation classes once released. The hospital’s smoke free environment also decreases the effects of secondary smoke on visitors and employees. Pikeville Medical Center strives to be the medical leader in preventive medicine and in promoting healthier lifestyles. We hope our efforts influence other hospitals and employers to proactively focus on employee health.
Attracted by Pikeville Medical Center’s strong commitment to the health of the people of Kentucky, particularly our neighbors in eastern Kentucky, Dr. Fletcher has agreed to share his expertise as a medical professional as we move to the next level.
In addition, Dr. Fletcher is assisting with the review of Pikeville Medical Center’s residency program. As a training hospital, Pikeville Medical Center plays a key role in attracting physicians to eastern Kentucky and provides cost effective health care and treatment through our Family Practice Clinic. A family practice physician himself, Dr. Fletcher brings a unique perspective that will allow Pikeville Medical Center to enhance patient care and physician growth.
As governor, Dr. Fletcher had the opportunity to visit many hospitals and medical providers across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are especially pleased that he recognized Pikeville Medical Center’s high quality medical care and its commitment to the health of the people of our region. The collaboration between Dr. Fletcher and Pikeville Medical Center will undoubtedly benefit the many people who turn to Pikeville Medical Center for their health care needs.