Mid Coast Hospital Awarded Gold Star for Excellence in Tobacco-Free Campus Policies
Mid Coast Hospital has received a 2011 Gold Star Standard of Excellence Award from the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network at a recent celebration in Augusta.

All hospitals in Maine had the opportunity to apply for the Gold Star Standards of Excellence awards at the gold, silver, and bronze levels. Award levels are based on criteria such as tobacco-free campus policy, tobacco treatment being easily available to staff and patients, disallowing magazines with tobacco ads in waiting rooms, and refusal of any tobacco industry funds. Mid Coast Hospital is one of just seven Maine hospitals recognized as a Gold Star for their work as a wellness champion who promotes and supports tobacco-free lifestyles in their community.

Mid Coast Hospital has offered tobacco treatment and medication benefits for several years and uses many methods to educate employees about what tools are available to them if they are ready to quit using tobacco products. This includes educating employees at orientation, benefits fairs, the Great American Smokeout, and at health risk appraisals, as well as specific tobacco counseling.

Helpful services for quitting tobacco are also available to community members through Healthline, Mid Coast Hospital's community education center. Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Marla Davis, MSN, RN, provides support for quit planning. "One of the most important aspects of this service is to listen and offer hope," says Davis, who was honored with a personal Gold Star award.

Sarah Mayberry of the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network summed up the role of hospitals as community health stewards, and the importance of tobacco-free hospital policies. "As leaders in health care, Maine hospitals seek to optimize the health of patients and the surrounding community. They provide key community support and are exemplary role models in health care excellence. Tobacco-free campus policies are examples of this commitment as they benefit patients, employees, and the entire community. The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network, an initiative of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, wants to recognize those hospitals that have worked hard to make their campuses 100% tobacco-free environments."

For more information about the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network and its service, visit: www.mainetobaccofreehospitalnetwork.org.