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Valley Health System Recognized for Workplace Health & Prevention

Valley Health System Recognized for Workplace Health & Prevention

Valley Health System has been awarded the WorkHealthy America Excellence Recognition for reaching the highest standards in workplace health and prevention. The health system is the first in Virginia and West Virginia, and one of only 22 organizations in the U.S., to receive this recognition.

On Thursday, the director of Community Outreach at the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) presented the award at Valley Health’s monthly manager’s meeting at Winchester Medical Center, which is teleconferenced to the system’s other hospitals in Luray, Woodstock and Front Royal, VA, and Berkeley Springs and Romney, WV.

The VHHA launched the WorkHealthy Virginia initiative in 2013 in collaboration with Prevention Partners, a national nonprofit. WorkHealthy Virginia is a statewide initiative designed to support VHHA members’ efforts to create a worksite culture of health and improve employee health while reducing health care costs.

“I congratulate leadership and our wellness staff for making wellness a priority for our patients and our employees,” said Mark H. Merrill, Valley Health president and CEO. “By using evidence-based approaches to encourage our staff to make healthy choices, prevent illness and feel their best, we are building a healthier and more productive workforce, which directly impacts the patients we are privileged to serve.”

Valley Health earned straight As on the Prevention Partners Wellness Quality Scorecard in four modules: nutrition, physical activity, tobacco-free, and overall culture of health and wellness. The Excellence Recognition honors Valley Health’s commitment to employee wellness as demonstrated by policies, programs and benefits to support employee health, optimize productivity, and integrate wellness into daily operations.

“It’s a special honor to be the first hospital system to achieve this recognition at all sites simultaneously,” said Chris Rucker, vice president, Valley Health Ambulatory and Wellness Services. “On behalf of Valley Health’s 5,000+ employees, I’m proud of how our staff has embraced the challenge to move from hypothetical to practical, so that healthy behaviors such as taking the stairs, making smart cafeteria choices, not using tobacco and tracking personal health metrics are reinforced, celebrated, and have become the new normal.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged the WorkHealthy America Excellence standard as one of the highest achievements in building a healthy workplace.

Since Americans spend the majority of their waking hours at work, employer-supported initiatives can significantly impact workforce wellness. The statistics on health, wellness and chronic disease are sobering: More than 70% of preventable early death and disease is due to tobacco use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity; 20% of Americans use tobacco and more than a third of adults are obese.

Valley Health’s “HealthyU” program and other wellness initiatives offer staff the resources and time to include wellness activities in their daily routines. It has been shown that employees at organizations that nurture wellness have higher job satisfaction, and that wellness policies increase staff retention, and are an attractive feature in recruitment. As health care evolves from a disease/treatment-based model to a wellness/prevention-based one, programs that empower staff to address health issues and avoid chronic disease are a win-win.

“Valley Health sets a high bar in establishing a workplace where employees can make healthy choices,” says Meg Molloy, President and CEO of Prevention Partners. “I applaud this great effort and the commitment of Valley Health leadership to create a culture of wellness.”