Hospital to go tobacco-free

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In other action

The hospital board:

• Conducted a 40-minute executive session to discuss contracts and personnel matters. No decisions were made.

• Approved a $22,500 administrative contract to Diversified Consulting Solutions for phase one work on the new hospital site.

• Approved medical staff appointment for: Kurt Papenfus, emergency medicine.

• Approved medical staff reappointments for Thomas Told, family practice, and Lyman Brothers, urology.

• Approved medical staff advancement for Fred Jones, radiology to active staff; J. David Gilliland, radiology to active staff, and Craig Jonas, radiology to associate staff.

• Approved reappointments to provisional staff for Lawrence Pertcheck, Dana Mann, Robert Hunter, Ross Goldstein, Lawrence Bub, Scott Evans, Jeffrey Guyon, Joseph Morgan, Samuel Ahn and John McDonald, all of radiology.

Practice what you preach.

That's the message behind a new The Memorial Hospital initiative to have a tobacco-free campus, which begins Sunday. The medical staff and hospital administration made the decision to implement tobacco and smoking restrictions, and the hospital board endorsed the decision.

"We will have a designated area away from the hospital," George Rohrich, hospital chief executive officer, told the TMH board during its Wednesday meeting. "The rest of the grounds will be tobacco free.

"We're a health care organization. That is what we do. We should walk the walk and talk the talk."

The July 1 date corresponds with last year's anniversary of the Clean Indoor Air Act, an approved Colorado measure banning smoking inside most public establishments. The two exceptions to the legislation are assisted-living facilities and casinos; casinos are required to go smoke-free by January 2008.

The hospital's designated tobacco and smoking area will be located on the building's south side, near the heliport. Eventually, Rohrich said, TMH will build a depot, or "small bus stop," structure for smoking and tobacco use.

The hospital's interior has been designated as nonsmoking since about the early 1980s, Rohrich said, and going tobacco-free for the rest of the campus follows a natural evolution around the country for health care facilities.

Rohrich said the tobacco-free rules will help keep the stench of tobacco or cigarettes off employees, which in turn will help patients who may be sensitive to it.

Amy Knights, a TMH wellness coordinator, said the tobacco-use restrictions, ideally, also will help hospital employees kick the habit.

"That's a goal," she said. "We'd definitely like our employees be smoke-free."

The hospital also offers emp-loyees assistance in quitting smoking by offering the patch and other quit tools.

Teresa Wright, a tobacco prevention and education coordinator with the Northwest Colo-rado Visiting Nurse Association, said the VNA offers assistance to local residents trying to quit smoking. She also refers anyone wishing to quit to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's hotline, 1-800-784-8669 (QUITLINE).

Another resource for those wishing to quit is a new Web site launching Sunday, www.coquitline.org.

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