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Why The Focus on Community Health?

What started as an internal initiative at Memorial Hospital of Converse County, has now crossed over into the larger community. And with good reason. The monthly health challenge began as a way for hospital staff members to not only just compete but begin to become a healthier organization from the inside. The challenges, starting with Stop the Pop, have asked hospital employees to make their health an even greater priority.

Naturally this has crossed over into our community. Because when you begin to make changes such as this, those changes can't help but spill over. Seeing an opportunity not just for education but creating a healthier community, the healthy partnerships team at Memorial Hospital decided the Douglas and Eastern Wyoming region should be included in very palpable ways in the healthy challenge month to month.

"My goal for the community is to build a culture of wellness that focuses on personal improvement in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and overall wellness." said Population Health Director Tom Holt. "Knowledge is power especially when it comes to personal health that prevents disease rather than having to manage symptoms. At MHCC, we're designing health initiatives that meet the needs of or employees and the community. Ultimately, we'd like to establish a broader community to health-centric townspeople."

Each of the monthly health challenges is designed to help staff and citizen alike make small but important changes for a set amount of time. Usually over the course of the month the challenges bring to light a number of health concerns such as: Consuming Sugars in the form of Soda; Increasing Activity Levels Throughout Life; Focus on Diet and Nutrition By Including More Servings of Fruits and Vegetables; and so on.

"Feel younger … do more … live longer! Eating right and staying active and flexible are so important to the quality of life. Sadly, I see people every day who are my age, or even younger, who are in such bad shape," echoed Chief Culture Officer Frank Wiederrecht. "Most of the life-threatening diseases that we see in our hospital have to do with lifestyle. On the other hand we have an octogenarian who still works at MHCC and plays pickle-ball and golfs regularly!"

Going month to month helps provide this array while also educating our town on those very important tenants of lasting health: what we put in our bodies truly makes a difference and how physical inertia works. The staff at Memorial Hospital of Converse County hopes to not only see a healthier public but also internally they are all working towards the goal of lowering health insurance costs by participating.

This model provided by the Hospital's Insurance Prover helps those employed by the hospital to meet the challenge and not only see a long term health benefit but a fiscal savings as well. Going forward and looking long term the hospital hopes to continue these challenges through the coming months and welcomes community input.

CEO Ryan Smith concluded, "The response has been great from the community and we love to see the stories shared with us via social media of how this small change or that larger change has made an impact in people we know both locally and throughout the nation. It's our position in the community, to lead in not only providing consistent patient centered care at our hospital but by being continuously present in the overall health of our community."