TMH facilities on track to becoming tobacco free by July 1

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In other action ...

At its regular meeting Thursday, The Memorial Hospital Board:

• Voted, 7-0, to elect Don Myers, former board secretary/treasurer, as chairman to replace outgoing chairwoman Missy Bonaker. The board also voted, 7-0, to elect Tinneal Gerber as new board secretary/treasurer.

• Voted, 7-0, to give Rohrich the authority to recruit a chief medical officer from among the hospital’s current physicians. Rohrich said the new supervisory position will not replace the chief of staff’s position, currently held by Dr. Scott Ellis.

• Heard reports on the hospital’s 2011 fourth-quarter business plan progress report.

• Heard a report on the TMH hospitalist program. Hospital officials examined data that shows the hospitalist program is achieving what it was designed to do. TMH officials will examine other indicators to determine the program’s performance.

• Approved, 7-0, giving Rohrich authority to open bids for a renovation to the TMH Medical Clinic, where the hospital’s rehabilitation services are scheduled to move in the spring.

Starting this summer, The Memorial Hospital, along with its satellite facilities, will be completely tobacco-free.

At its regular meeting Thursday, the hospital board unanimously approved the final draft of a plan to prohibit smoking and any other kind of tobacco use on TMH grounds.

Hospital officials are planning to put the new policy in place July 1.

Smoking is already prohibited within a short distance outside a hospital, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.

However, hospital officials are looking to extend the ban, which means smokers — whether they are visitors, patients, staff or physicians — will have to leave TMH property to smoke.

The same rule would apply to the TMH Medical Clinic at 785 Russell St., and TMH Rehabilitation Center inside Centennial Mall.

TMH is by no means the first hospital to adopt this kind of policy.

“To be very honest, we’re way behind” other hospitals that have already become tobacco-free, Chief Nursing Officer Lorraine Reinhardt said.

Tinneal Gerber, newly elected board secretary/treasurer, asked how TMH staff has reacted to the upcoming policy change.

“The staff is OK,” Reinhardt said. “They know that it’s been coming.”

Gerber expressed support for the new policy before casting her vote.

“You can’t smoke in the bar anymore,” she said. “Why should we allow you to in the hospital?”

However, Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich cautioned board members to be prepared for “that encounter in the grocery store” with residents who may be upset with the change.

Ultimately, he said, the decision to go tobacco-free goes back to the hospital’s mission as a health care facility.

“This is in the best interest of people’s health,” Rohrich said. “It’s as simple as that.”

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Comments

crdilldine 2 years, 10 months ago

I am so glad that they're putting a cap on smoking on hospital grounds!! My hubby and I had our baby here at the new Memorial Hospital, mid 2011 and the smell was hideous! The staff was super sweet of course but the woman who had to check in on us every 2 hours or so (We had a precipitous birth) reeked of cigarettes. I couldn't believe that someone who works with babies and people in need of care would so blatantly NOT even wash their hands before returning from a cigarette break! I couldn't wait to get home and away from this elderly woman who smelled like a chain smoker. Ugh I hope no one else has to endure that before this ban takes effect.

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Jon Pfeifer 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't know that the ban will make people who work there stop smoking. They will just have to drive somewhere to take their smoke breaks. This seems like an obvious move though. Health care facilities really shouldn't have smoking anywhere near their premises, given that smoking is so harmful to ones health and also given that people seeking medical care don't need extra stress-triggers in their environment, like enduring the smell of smoke while seeking medical attention.

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