Kansas Hospital Association
Contact – Cindy Samuelson
July 13, 2018
William Newton Hospital Receives Healthy Kansas Hospitals Centers of Excellence Award
“We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to support employee wellness,” said Ben Quinton, chief executive officer. “We’re about providing healthy options, not about forcing employees to go without salt and sugar. It’s inspiring to see employees making healthy choices. It’s exciting to see employees, when they take a break, go for a walk together instead of going out for a cigarette. It’s encouraging,” he said.
“Receiving this award validates the work the Wellness Committee has been doing,” said Ruth Bumgarner, Healthways coordinator. William Newton Hospital adopted a Healthy Foods and Beverage Policy in 2016 as a direct result of joining the Healthy Kansas Hospitals initiative. “Implementing the policy during the past two years, we’ve had lots of ups and downs,” she noted. “We’ve seen positive changes, and we’ve tried things that didn’t work.” Removing pop from the cafeteria and changing snacks available in vending machines has been “hard work.” The Wellness Committee chair said, “It’s hard work, but it’s work worth doing.”
In addition to making changes in the vending machines, the hospital is devoting a larger portion of its food budget to fresh fruits and vegetables. “We have the best salad bar in town,” Bumgarner said proudly.
For the past two years, in February during Heart Health Month, the hospital has hosted a “taste-and-go” for employees with demonstrations of how to prepare several heart-healthy dishes and then they are sampled. At least two shifts of employees have participated in the “Halls and Oats” walking oatmeal bar in which employees stroll through the halls to visit various stations – dried fruits, berries and nuts – with a final stop in the cafeteria for a ladle of oatmeal, all while enjoying the music of Hall and Oates and appropriately-themed decorations. “This promotes the importance of starting the day with a good, heart-healthy breakfast,” Bumgarner explained.
“Communicating the ‘why’ is important too,” Bumgarner said. “We’re doing this because we care about the health and well-being of our employees.”
“We understand there is no quick return-on-investment with wellness,” said Quinton. “We try to think of things more long term. A healthy employee is a happy employee is a more productive employee. Helping our employees is good for everyone,” he added.
The hospital also is working to make the community healthier. Through RISE Cowley, William Newton Hospital is working with some 40 other organizations to make “Cowley County a healthier place to live and work. We’re working to increase access to healthy foods, provide more opportunities for physical activity and raise awareness of healthy behaviors,” said Sarah Bryant, director of Marketing & Business Development and a RISE Cowley steering committee member. “RISE stands for ‘Raising awareness, Improving health, Supporting collaboration and Energizing communities’,” Bryant explained. The coalition applied for and received a Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. The grant allows RISE Cowley to provide funding to local businesses and collaborations for activities/initiatives related to food, activity and smoking/tobacco use cessation.
About William Newton Hospital
Located in south central Kansas, William Newton Hospital is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital that serves patients in Winfield and the surrounding rural communities. Some 80 percent of its $82 million in gross revenue comes from out-patient services. The non-for-profit community general hospital is locally managed and financially self-sufficient, receiving no tax support. The hospital is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Winfield City Commission. The hospital operates five rural health clinics, provides office facilities for medical staff members and offers occupational health, home health, labor and delivery, physical therapy, advanced wound care, and other general medical and surgical care for patients as well as emergency room services.
About Healthy Kansas Hospitals
The Healthy Kansas Hospitals initiative was federally funded through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Community Health Systems FLEX Program. The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) program is managed by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Kansas Hospital Association is a voluntary, non-profit organization existing to be the leading advocate and resource for members. KHA membership includes 217 member facilities, of which 124 are full-service, community hospitals. Founded in 1910, KHA’s vision is Optimal Health for Kansas.
About Pathways to a Healthy Kansas
Pathways to a Healthy Kansas is the largest community grant program ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. The Pathways program provides 16 community coalitions with the tools and resources needed to remove barriers and engage their communities in ways that enable healthy eating and tobacco-free, active living to become a way of life. The grant funding for each community includes a coordination grant along with the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation and achievements grants.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
For more than 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.
Kansas Hospital Association Senior Vice President of Healthcare Strategy and Policy Karen Braman, holding the check on the left, presented a Healthy Kansas Hospitals Centers of Excellence Award and check to William Newton Hospital representatives on July 11. Hospital staff receiving the award included, from left, Randy Mayo, administrative director of Technical & Support Services; Tina Wheeler, chief nursing officer; Ben Quinton, CEO; Karen Adamson, administrative director of Ancillary Services; Tom Herlocker, WNH trustee; Joan Cales, WNH trustee; Cathy McClurg, director of Human Resources; Ruth Bumgarner, Healthways Coordinator; Taylor Stonerock, Business Office director; Cheryl Brock, director of Volunteer Services; Whitney Hasselbring, staff accountant and Sarah Bryant, director of Marketing & Business Development.