Protecting resources Featured

10:26am EDT February 24, 2005
Six years ago, when Hugh Pace -- the recently-retired president of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Asia Region -- had his annual physical at a local hospital, he had an initial evaluation with one doctor, a follow-up with another doctor and a final meeting with a third doctor.

He knew it was important to stay informed about his health, but he felt that seeing three doctors for a physical was "too much change."

Goodyear's corporate health director told Pace the company provided alternatives for an annual physical, and he discovered the Executive Health Management Program offered by Summa's Center for Corporate Health at St. Thomas Hospital. He first tried it in 2000 and has returned several times.

"I found the St. Thomas program to be more desirable, more efficient and more personalized," Pace says. "There are less people going through it on any given day. ... I just had a physical a couple of months ago, and I generally see the same (staff members) every visit."

Sharon Fortunato, director of the Center for Corporate Health, and Dr. William E. Moats, medical director of executive testing, say many of their patients learn about the program through direct marketing or word of mouth from pleased patients.

"(CEOs) may be more prone to stress-related medical conditions just because of the fact that their jobs are so stressful," Fortunato says. " ... One of the reasons why companies (offer an executive physical) is they invest a lot of money in their CEO. They want to make sure that they protect the health and well-being of their top executive. ... It also sends the message to the top executives that the company cares."

What makes an executive physical program different from a physical given by a family physician? Fortunato says the executive physical can take three or four hours, and the patient is given personalized treatment.

"You don't have somebody waiting in the next room for the doctor. This is time that has been set aside just for that executive. ... It's not the same as when you're sitting in the room and you've got that little gown on," Fortunato says. "You're in (Moats') office, and you're just having a nice conversation while you go through all of this (family, medical and social) history."

The majority of Moats' patients are Akron executives, and one Akron-based company scheduled executive physicals for several of its top execs when they were in town for a semi-annual meeting.

"I've been doing physicals on their key executives here," Moats says. "And they asked us, 'Would you be willing to double up, because we're going to have five or six of them come in town for meetings in a couple of days,' and I said, 'Sure.'"

Standard medical practice suggests that an executive physical should be performed every three years if the exec is under 40; every two years between the ages of 40 and 50; and annually over the age of 50, Fortunato says. The Center for Corporate Health sees about 75 to 100 patients for executive physicals each year. Depending on family history and age, certain tests will be recommended and scheduled, and many can be done at St. Thomas.

When executive patients return for a review of the findings, they receive a typed report and discuss each section with the doctor. A registered dietician can be consulted to make exercise or nutrition recommendations.

"'Comprehensive' seems like such a simple word, but when you think about it, that's exactly what it is," Fortunato says.

HOW TO REACH:

Summa's Center for Corporate Health, (330) 379-5959 or www.summahealth.org/common/templates/contentindex.asp?ID=2989