TMH facilities on track to becoming tobacco free by July 1
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.”