Parma Community Hospital announced on Monday that it will no longer hire smokers effective March 1, 2010.
The hospital announced the decision, citing their commitment to the wellness of both its employees and the community.
"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."
Smoking was banned on the hospital campus and at all of its off-site facilities in 2006.
"Parma Hospital has a long-term commitment to both the health of its patients and of its employees," said President & CEO Patricia A. Ruflin. "With our leadership in protecting and enhancing the health of our community comes a responsibility that we take seriously."
A press release on the hospital's Web site outlines some of the employee wellness incentives being offered to coincide with the decision, including:
Opening WellFit, a new employee fitness center, in January 2009,
Hiring 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,
Making changes to the cafeteria selections, with lower-fat, lower-sodium alternatives,
Offering a 30 percent discount for employees at all exercise and mind/body wellness classes offered through the hospital's Health Education Center,
Offering an incentive program that pays cash to employees who receive preventive screenings through the hospital-sponsored medical insurance plan,
Offering smoking cessation support for existing employees. Employees hired prior to March 1, 2010, will not be affected by the change.
Anyone seeking employment with the hospital will be required to take a nicotine test as part of the pre-employment physical examination. The result of the test must be negative to be considered for any position.
Any job candidate who receives a positive result will be offered smoking cessation resources and may be reconsidered 90 days later if their retest is negative.
For more information on Parma Community Hospital, you can visit their Web site: www.parmahospital.org
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