Engaged employees know your company’s expectations and believe their job descriptions implicitly include exceeding them. They use their talents to excel, connect well with colleagues and customers, and move their companies forward.
To learn more about transforming engagement levels in the workplace, Smart Business spoke with Diana Hendel, Pharm.D., CEO of three MemorialCare hospitals in Long Beach. MemorialCare is recognized as one of only 32 companies worldwide to receive the 2013 Gallup Great Workplace award.
How can you recognize an engaged employee?
When engaged employees walk past visitors in our hospitals’ hallways they make eye contact, smile and stop to help people find their way. Disengaged employees hurry by, believing that’s not in their job description. Engaged employees are more productive, customer-centric, safe and successful. They are 3.5 times more likely to be thriving in their lives, experience better days and have fewer unhealthy days. We see a direct correlation between high employee engagement and the service satisfaction scores we receive from our patients and their families.
What’s the first step to improve engagement?
Creating a work environment that values people and aims to ensure each employee has an emotional connection to the company’s mission is at the heart of sustaining employee engagement. Become an active partner with your employees to maintain or improve their health and wellness. Create an environment that makes being healthy easier, with nutritious on-site food options, walking challenges, weight reduction programs, gyms, smoke-free campuses, activity days, health information and more.
Encourage teams to take walking rather than sitting meetings, take activity breaks and make walking workstations available. In MemorialCare’s case, implementing these core aspects of a wellness program resulted in 77 percent of our employees reporting that their organization makes an effort to help them improve their health.
What are the next steps to partnering with employees?
Once you’ve implemented the foundation of a wellness program, the next step is to provide your employees with the knowledge they need to impact their risk factors for chronic disease. Understanding the key biometric numbers of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index, and their connection to heart disease and diabetes can help individuals lower their risk. Chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and depression are responsible for two-thirds of the total increase in health care spending, so reducing these conditions can help lower health care expenses.
Actively partner with employees who need the most help managing chronic conditions. The latest evidence shows that the support of a team including a wellness coach, nurse, dietician and physician can give individuals with chronic conditions what they need to make important changes.
MemorialCare partners with our employees with chronic conditions to make long-lasting lifestyle changes, lessen complications, improve outcomes, and lower medical and pharmaceutical costs through our program, The Good Life — In Balance. With 93 percent participant retention, the program has led to significant improvements in participants’ blood glucose and blood pressure.
How can employers improve the workplace?
Help identify key factors in moving the dial on your employees’ engagement by participating in a survey, like those initiated by Gallup. These surveys compare your results with other companies so you can learn where you excel or need improvement. There is a direct connection between investing in employees’ wellness and achieving internationally recognized employee engagement levels. By creating a culture where well-being is valued, you can improve health, morale and productivity, while reducing absenteeism as well as the costs of workers’ compensation and health
Diana Hendel, Pharm.D, CEO, Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website: See more health and wellness information, podcasts and videos.
Insights Health Care is brought to you by MemorialCare Health System
Engaged employees know your company’s expectations and work hard to meet and exceed them. They use their talents to excel, drive innovation and move their companies forward.
To learn more about transforming employee engagement levels in the workplace, Smart Business spoke with Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System, recognized as one of only 32 companies worldwide to receive the 2013 Gallup Great Workplace award.
What do engaged employees do to improve the workplace?
Imagine a candy wrapper lying on the floor of your business’s lobby. An engaged employee picks it up and puts it in the trash. They are 100 percent invested in helping your organization succeed. A disengaged employee ignores it and walks by. An actively disengaged employee was the one who threw it there to begin with.
According to Gallup, the average ratio of engaged to disengaged employees in their database of health care organizations is 4-to-1. Engaged employees are more productive, customer-centric, safe and successful. They are 3.5 times more likely to be thriving in their lives, experience better days and have fewer unhealthy days. We see a direct correlation between high employee engagement and the service satisfaction scores we receive from our patients and their families.
How do you improve employee engagement?
Creating a work environment that values people and aims to ensure each employee has an emotional connection to the company’s growth or mission is at the heart of sustaining employee engagement.
Become an active partner with your employees to maintain or improve their health and wellness. Create an environment that makes being healthy easier, with nutritious on-site food options, walking challenges, weight reduction programs, gyms, smoke-free campuses, activity days, health information and more. Encourage teams to take walking rather than sitting meetings, take activity breaks and make walking workstations available. In MemorialCare’s case, implementing these core aspects of a wellness program resulted in 77 percent of our employees reporting that their organization makes an effort to help them improve their health.
How do you become a partner in your employees’ wellness?
Once you’ve got the basics of a wellness program in place, help provide your employees with the knowledge they need to impact their risk factors for chronic disease. Understanding the key biometric numbers of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index, and their connection to heart disease and diabetes can help individuals to lower their risk. Chronic diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and depression are responsible for two-thirds of the total increase in health care spending. Reducing these can help lower health care expenses.
Actively partner with employees who need the most help managing chronic conditions. The latest evidence shows that the support of a team including a wellness coach, nurse, dietician and physician can give individuals with chronic conditions what they need to make important changes. MemorialCare partners with our employees with chronic conditions to make long-lasting lifestyle changes, lessen complications, improve outcomes, and lower medical and pharmaceutical costs through our program, The Good Life – In Balance. With 93 percent participant retention, the program has led to significant improvements in their blood glucose and blood pressure.
How can employers improve the workplace?
Participate in a survey, like those initiated by Gallup, to help identify key factors in moving the dial on your employees’ engagement. These surveys compare your results with other companies, so you can learn where you excel or need improvement.
There is a direct connection between investing in employees’ wellness and achieving internationally recognized employee engagement levels. By creating a culture where well-being is valued, you can improve health, morale and productivity, while reducing absenteeism, and the costs of health benefits and workers’ compensation.
Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., is president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System. Reach him at email@example.com.
Website: See more health and wellness information, podcasts and videos.
Insights Health Care is brought to you by MemorialCare Health System
For more than 1 million Americans annually diagnosed with heart disease, there’s great hope. Two-thirds survive the disease— 27 percent higher than a decade ago, and impressive new technologies and techniques show tremendous promise.
Smart Business turned to nationally prominent experts Gregory S. Thomas, MD, MPH, Medical Director, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial and Shaun Setty, MD, Medical Director, Pediatric & Adult Congenital Heart Program at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The two hospitals share one campus, ensuring those facing heart disease can easily access a lifetime of world-class, comprehensive and coordinated services.
What risk factors are most prevalent?
Sedentary lifestyles, smoking, obesity, and consuming saturated and trans fats — prevalent in our society — negatively impact cholesterol counts and blood pressure levels and can cause dangerous plaque build-up in coronary arteries. One in three California children is overweight, many mirroring their parents’ unhealthy habits. This increases heart disease risks as adults, making family fitness and healthy eating essential.
Almost one in 100 babies are born with congenital heart disease. These abnormalities in cardiovascular structures may produce symptoms at birth, during childhood or as adults. While most defects are simple conditions or need no treatment, some require medical attention soon after birth and monitoring throughout adulthood.
How can health risks be lowered?
Lowering cholesterol and treating high blood pressure can reduce risks of dying of heart disease or needing invasive procedures. It’s important to maintain an appropriate weight, eat foods low in cholesterol and fat, reduce stress, control blood pressure, exercise frequently, access appropriate screenings and follow your doctor’s advice.
What advances are available locally?
MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial is one of the most comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease. Our nationally known cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons perform 20,000 diagnostic and surgical procedures each year. Our Chest Pain Center was one of the first two in U.S. hospitals. Emergency treatment times at our cardiac paramedic receiving centers beat the national average, as do our cardiac outcomes. We’re the region’s only hospital with a 320-slice CT scanner, providing superior imaging for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Miller Children’s Hospital pre-eminent Pediatric Cardiac Team diagnoses and treats children of all ages with congenital or acquired heart disease or who have a family history — from as early as in the womb during pregnancy to young adults. The Pediatric Cardiac Center, Cardiac Surgery Program and other specialized pediatric services provide comprehensive care to the patient, family and community.
MemorialCare hospitals perform among the highest numbers of robotic heart surgeries nationally. These procedures enable surgeons to operate with unprecedented precision through tiny incisions with less trauma to the body, faster recoveries, and minimal pain and scarring.
How can we create a healthier workplace?
The workplace can help achieve better health by ensuring exercise opportunities and availability of fruits, vegetables and nutritious foods.
MemorialCare provides work site prevention and screenings, as well as heart healthy programs in the community and schools. MemorialCare.org tools help evaluate medical risks. Health guides outline heart attack symptoms, healthy eating and women’s wellness.
MemorialCare Health System, a not-for profit, integrated delivery system, includes six top hospitals — Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial, and Saddleback Memorial in Laguna Hills and San Clemente; medical groups — MemorialCare Medical Group and Memorial Prompt Care; the Independent Practice Association (IPA) Greater Newport Physicians; retail health centers; and numerous outpatient centers throughout the Southland.
Gregory Thomas, MD, is medical director of MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial. Shaun Setty, MD, is medical director of the Pediatric & Adult Congenital Heart Program at Miller Children’s Hospital.
Learn more about heart disease by taking a quick assessment at memorialcare.org/heart
As the recent health care reform act rolls out, those who care for America’s communities continue to address the legislation’s goals of better care, better health and better management of costs.
Smart Business spoke with Diana Hendel, PharmD, the CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, part of the MemorialCare Health System to learn more about the impact of this legislation.
What action are you taking to prepare for reform?
MemorialCare continues concentrating on bold goals in clinical and service excellence, maintaining steadfast fiscal discipline, addressing patient satisfaction, enhancing physician partnerships and employee engagement and growing our capacity to improve health care for our communities. We’re adding hospitals, broadening offerings and expanding ambulatory care, including a new outpatient center in East Long Beach with physician offices, urgent care and diagnostic capabilities. Our goal is delivering the best value on a consistent basis at MemorialCare’s six hospitals and 250 outpatient, ambulatory and physician practice facilities throughout the Southland.
We are now moving from a system of caring for the sick to improving each person’s health and wellness. Two decades ago, our physicians undertook an ambitious effort to devise far more scientific approaches to improve the medical outcomes of patients. Those efforts — today involving thousands of physicians, nurses and other clinicians studying the best medical care around the globe — resulted in best-practice, evidence-based medicine as well as medical outcomes surpassing regional and national standards.
How do physicians partner for better care?
Partnership opportunities with our 2,500 affiliated physicians range from leadership and management positions and participation in MemorialCare Physician Society, to joint ventures and collaborations involving innovative medical technology. Many are joining our employment and Independent Practice Association (IPA) models that are part of the physician medical group we call MemorialCare Medical Foundation that includes MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians. These unique partnerships promote an integrated approach to health care delivery and ensure a sound future for our physicians. By offering multiple options and strengthened alignments with physicians, we’re positioned to provide high quality care, offering patients a choice from among the best physicians, while carefully managing the health care costs to employers and consumers. Also critical to this broad-ranging, pluralistic physician partnership approach is our commitment to strong relationships with independent physicians, medical groups and IPAs plus myriad opportunities for physicians to impact the
future of health care.
How does technology improve medical care?
Groundbreaking medical technology yields faster, improved diagnoses; superior, less invasive and more targeted treatments; reduced hospital stays; quicker recoveries; and enhanced quality of life for our patients. Our 320-Slice CT Scanner — the most powerful x-ray imaging device, and one of just a few in the state — provides high quality imaging for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of the heart, brain and tiny blood vessels — with less radiation exposure. Our robotic surgery suites — among the nation’s busiest — enable physicians to operate with unprecedented precision through tiny incisions for heart, gynecology, urology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, cancer and other procedures. Todd Cancer Institute’s nationally recognized cancer diagnosis and treatment modalities for adults and children, offer the most sophisticated treatment technologies available and is the world’s prominent teaching site for radiation oncology procedures. MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute includes comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease with advanced, world-class care.
Digital technologies in the form of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) allow clinicians immediate access to a patient’s health and medical history, maximize clinical quality and patient outcomes at points of decision-making, reduce medical errors and improve patient care. Available in our hospitals, physician offices and ambulatory sites, many patients are accessing their health records to track and improve their own health and wellness.
Are health and wellness efforts working?
One powerful example — The Good Life program — is significantly improving the health and wellness of our employees and their families through fitness challenges, nutritious offerings and support for chronic conditions. These critical results-driven activities are extended to local employers who tap our expertise to improve the health of their work forces with on-site screenings, seminars, executive and employee physicals and more. MemorialCare helps employers adapt to health reform, trim health benefits and health costs and improve productivity.
Our focus on preventive care starts with the tiniest newborns and progresses through all stages of life. For example, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, ranking at the top for admissions among Southern California children’s hospitals, features a medical home model. Here, physician-led teams are providing comprehensive and continuous medical care to achieve optimal health outcomes. As the only health system in Los Angeles or Orange county with prominent adult and children’s hospitals, we’re in a unique position to address the life-long health needs of our communities, thus helping consumers take control of their health and their lives.
Diana Hendel, PharmD, is CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospitals are part of MemorialCare Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system that also includes Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente; MemorialCare Medical Group; Greater Newport Physicians, an Independent Practice Association (IPA); MemorialCare HealthExpress retail clinics; and numerous outpatient health centers throughout the Southland. For information, go to memorialcare.com.
How much time do people spend choosing their hospital, doctor and health plan during open enrollment? The average is just 16 minutes. By minimizing the amount of time spent making selections, people are hoping to make the process less painful. But without careful selection, they may later end up lacking the choices that they needed.
Why is open enrollment so important?
The choices employees make during open enrollment help determine the cost, access and quality of their health care for the following year. Whether adding dependents, enrolling in a new plan, selecting different primary care physicians, increasing or decreasing out-of-pocket expenses or other options, consumers should know the facts before making decisions. Selecting a doctor, for instance, can determine the entire course of their health care — including the hospital they’ll go to for inpatient and outpatient care. That’s why it is important to shop for health care as any major purchase.
Selection of a health plan should be determined by more than just price. Examine your medical needs and those of your family. Are regular prescriptions or doctor visits required? These and other issues factor into how much coverage is adequate. And it’s important to estimate, or ‘price out,’ the unpredictable events. Medical emergencies occur and payment varies from plan to plan.
How are physicians selected?
When it comes to choosing a physician during open enrollment, take the time to fully understand the benefits covered by each plan that is offered. Are you comfortable with the medical group your physician belongs to? Is your preferred hospital of choice contracted with your new health plan? Large, highly regarded health systems such as MemorialCare are associated with several high-quality medical groups in both Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Consider the hospital or hospitals covered in your plan. Are they part of an integrated health system that provides you access to sophisticated technology and to advanced treatments and procedures? Do they offer the same specialized services for adults and for children? Receiving care from a health system helps ensure clinicians treating you — whether it is from a primary care physician’s office, specialist’s office, or hospital — have shared access through electronic medical records to have the latest information about your diagnosis, allergies, tests and other critical medical information. This helps to streamline care, better manage chronic conditions and avoid unnecessary duplication of tests.
What are other considerations?
By planning ahead, you’ll have access to services you consider important — and in a facility that meets your standards, when needed. Take time to inquire about a hospital’s quality, safety, clinical outcomes, reputation and its patient care philosophy before making any decisions. Ensure that you’ll have access to the hospital that demonstrates the best possible results for its patients — one using a ‘best-practice’ approach to patient care in which multidisciplinary teams are continually studying and implementing cutting-edge treatments and techniques in a variety of specialties.
The MemorialCare hospitals — innovators and pioneers in best practice, evidence-based medicine — have received many honors and awards from national, regional and statewide organizations for quality, safety, clinical care and employees. MemorialCare Health System is again one of only 27 businesses globally to receive the Gallup Great Workplace Award recognizing the world’s most engaged employees, which, according to Gallup, are safer and more productive, and customer-centric and successful.
Another example is the recent accolades of the MemorialCare Medical Group, which later this year opens a new medical building in Los Altos MarketCenter with family physicians, internists and pediatricians, as well as laboratory and X-ray services and urgent care. MemorialCare Medical Group is continually honored by California Association for Physician Groups with four-star Elite Status, the highest rating that is possible. This program measures how physician organizations improve the affordability, cultural sensitivities, patient quality, safety, health information technology, communications, access, the continuity of care provided, public accountability and their responsiveness.
How can employers improve open enrollment?
To do this, businesses should continually evaluate their health plans to ensure that they remain competitive. They could work with brokers and health plans to ensure networks that are offered provide the best care possible while still maintaining affordability.
Improve the process with comprehensive communications, meetings on benefit plans and other activities to ensure employees fully understand their options and the ramifications of their choices. Explain basic insurance terms, the differences between co-payment and co-insurance, the impact of deductibles on premiums, out-of-pocket expenses and the costs of out-of-network care.
MemorialCare hospitals and MemorialCare Medical Group offer employers many programs and services both onsite at the workplace and in the community. These include benefits and health fairs, physicals for executives, wellness and prevention programs, screenings and information about how to select the best benefit plan, lower benefit costs and access high-quality care.
DIANA HENDEL is CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospitals are part of the not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System which also includes Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For more information on excellence in health care, visit memorialcare.org.
Insights Health Care is brought to you by MemorialCare Medical Centers
The evidence has become clear: the more that a company’s work force becomes engaged, healthy and driven, the more likely a business will succeed. According to recent research by The Gallup Organization, engagement of a passionate workforce is a powerful force in catalyzing outside-the-box thinking and creating fresh ideas to improve business processes and customer service.
To learn more about activities all employers can do to encourage a healthier work force, Smart Business sat down with Diana Hendel, PharmD, and CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospitals are a part of the MemorialCare Health System, one of just 27 businesses located around the world to receive the prestigious Gallup Great Workplace Award, and the only 2012 two-time honoree whose headquarters are in California.
What is the Gallup Great Workplace Award?
Based on something experts call ‘the most rigorous workplace research ever conducted,’ criteria for the award are based upon response rates exceeding 80 percent, engagement levels and impact on employee performance. Then, results are compared across Gallup’s database of 965,000 work teams and about 7.5 million respondents in 177 countries, with strategic plans and best practices evaluated to select those companies that established new global standards for the engagement of employees. Winners span the globe and they represent companies from banks to insurance, retail to manufacturing and health care to hospitality.
Why is having engaged employees important?
Gallup shared with us that there are more than two actively disengaged employees for every engaged employee who is in the work force. The businesses honored by the award have worked hard to shatter and reverse that trend, and averaged nine engaged employees for every worker who was actively disengaged.
Those employees from top companies are twice as likely to report that they actively receive recognition for the work that they do well, that their opinions count, that managers encourage them to develop in the workplace, that their co-workers are committed to quality work and that the organization’s mission and purpose make them feel their job is important.
How does this create a great workplace?
Employees who are engaged tend to be more productive, customer-centric, successful and safer. They are 3.5 times more likely than other employees to be thriving in their overall lives, experience better days and have fewer unhealthy days. Research tells us that award-winning companies improve the lives of their employees as they improve numerous other business results, including overall company performance and profitability — regardless of industry, company size or geographic location.
Those honored globally, according to Gallup, create environments that value employees and also ensure that each worker has an emotional connection to both the company’s mission and its growth. The positive effects of engagement also help to achieve real business outcomes.
Where do health and wellness fit in?
Having a healthy work force is the foundation for good business, as critical to your bottom line as is the quality of both your products and services. MemorialCare’s Good Life program can help you create a culture of excellence that encourages your employees to make healthier daily choices and improve their overall health. Initiatives include nutritious on-site options for food, exercise classes, trails, weight reduction programs, newsletters and work-life balance programs, plus walking challenges, an activity day, gyms and campuses that are smoke-free.
Financial incentives can also be offered to employees in return for their participation in confidential health assessments that can help identify opportunities to improve their health by creating and achieving personal goals. In the last year alone, MemorialCare employees walked 350,000 miles in walking challenges and have achieved a combined total of 4,000 pounds in reduction of weight. We also offer dedicated health coaching to help employees suffering from conditions including diabetes and hypertension make important life changes in an effort to lessen long-term complications and to improve their future medical outcomes.
What outcomes can wellness achieve?
Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can significantly impact levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. For every pound that is lost by someone who is overweight, there is a four-pound reduction in knee-joint stress load. We would be glad to share wellness best practices we have forged in our programs with other businesses with the goal of improving their employees’ health and of lowering the heallth care expenses of both the company and those of its employees.
How can employers adopt best practices?
Create an employee committee that can plan initiatives with the help of health professionals.
Start with simple screenings that ensure your employees are informed of their blood pressure, their weight, fitness level, nutritional habits and cholesterol. Get your work force out and walking during meal times and breaks. Hold sessions that share advice, activities and coaching to reach and maintain goals. Engage employees’ families, as well, to extend health habits to home. Offer executive and employee physicals that can help lead to early detection, preventive care and to better health outcomes.
MemorialCare Health System, our hospitals and physician groups can help employers with screenings at low to no cost, with prevention and healthy lifestyle sessions at your company, as well as executive and employee physicals that are both convenient and comprehensive. Our website at MemorialCare.org provides a number of online health risk assessments and wellness tips for the journey to better health.
Diana Hendel, PharmD, is CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Center Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The facilities are a member of the not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System, which also includes Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, as well as numerous outpatient facilities, clinical education and other programs. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit MemorialCare.org.
Insights Health Care is brought to you by MemorialCare Health System
If you’ve ever been inside one, you know children’s hospitals are special, some say miraculous places, where everything is kid-sized and child-friendly, and even the most critically ill children have hope of becoming healthy once again. Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach is one of the nation’s six largest children’s hospitals in patient admissions with a world-renowned neonatal intensive care unit for fragile newborns. In addition, its Women’s Pavilion is unique in medical history as a pioneer in perinatal medicine for high-risk pregnancies. As a result of these achievements, moms and families from throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties access Miller Children’s extraordinary services. That is why Smart Business turned to its CEO Diana Hendel, Pharm.D., to learn more. Caring exclusively for kids, expectant moms and their newborns, Miller Children’s, just one of two children’s hospitals in Los Angeles County, extends its pediatric and family centered care in the community via satellite clinics, health centers and schools in multiple locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. What makes care of children unique? The nation’s children’s hospitals treat kids that have the most complex and severe conditions. Teams of highly specialized pediatric specialists care for young patients with the most technologically advanced, compassionate, children’s-centered care available. Children aren’t simply young adults. While they often share the same illnesses as adults, children are affected differently with unique medical needs and health issues. Children need a hospital specializing in their unique needs with pediatric emergency and trauma services; neonatal intensive care; pediatric surgery; pediatric intensive care; children’s cancer, heart, orthopedics and blood disorder services; and outpatient specialty programs for managing chronic conditions. As children grow and develop, their need for highly trained specialized health care increases as they transition to adulthood. What makes Miller Children’s unique is that it includes obstetrics care and is one of the nation’s best known and largest neonatal intensive care units, and the state’s only free-standing children’s hospital that’s part of a major health care system, thus ensuring continuity of care throughout a lifetime. Miller Children’s and its new ‘castle-like’ patient pavilion is on the same 54-acre campus as Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, which is one of the country’s most highly regarded hospitals. Why are children’s hospitals so important? Children’s hospitals are indispensable. They treat the vast majority of children with chronic conditions and congenital abnormalities, including 93 percent requiring cardiac surgery and 71 percent with cancer. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure children and families receive the care and attention they require. Children’s hospitals, the top pediatric specialists and health care teams work to uncover complex intricacies of pediatric illnesses and pioneer new vaccines and treatments for common illnesses, chronic conditions and complex diseases. How do they differ from adult facilities? Children’s hospitals play several important roles: We are destinations for children who seek specialized pediatric care, and are a ‘safety net’ for uninsured or underinsured children. We are also an innovator in the primary ‘medical home’ concept that brings together more than 30 different physician specialists and scores of other clinicians to care for children with chronic or congenital conditions. While community hospitals might treat some pediatric patients, free-standing children’s hospitals like Miller Children’s have board-certified pediatric physicians with the special training to care for children. They are joined by rehabilitation staff, pediatric trained nurses, social services professionals, nutritionists, educators and various other clinicians. What services help kids adapt to their care? For a child, hospitals can be frightening. Child Life specialists use medical play to explain tests and procedures and provide coping techniques to help reduce the stress of hospitalization as well as offer playrooms, art, music and pet therapy. This minimizes the negative impact associated with illness and injury while promoting growth and development using a family-centered approach to care. Children’s hospitals are often the first stop on a long journey for families with children who have a chronic illness. Care teams understand the vital role of the parents and siblings in a child’s recovery or in managing chronic conditions. At Miller Children’s, family resource centers, parent education and a parent-to-parent mentor program ensure families know how to manage the condition and help them connect with others sharing similar experiences. In what ways can employers help? As an employer, you can get involved in the wellness of California’s nine million children. Join our campaign to help fight childhood obesity, which is now reaching epidemic proportions. Work with schools and youth organizations to promote exercise as well as healthy foods in cafeterias and vending machines. Miller Children’s Hospital and the other MemorialCare medical centers offer scores of family-centered wellness programs at the worksite and in the community to help your work force learn how to embrace healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. DR. DIANA HENDEL is CEO of Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System also includes Orange Coast Memorial in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Centers in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. To learn more, visit memorialcare.org. Insights Health Care is brought to you by MemorialCare Health System
The workplace is where most adults typically spend half of their waking hours and can have a powerful impact on one’s health. Thanks to efforts in engaging employees in workplace wellness, many businesses are promoting healthier lifestyles while also reducing absenteeism, lowering health and workers’ compensation costs and improving employee health, morale and productivity.
To learn more, Smart Business turned to Tammie Brailsford, RN, MemorialCare Health System executive vice president and chief operating officer, whose passion for employee wellness has created an environment of improved health among the system’s 11,000 employees.
Why should businesses invest in wellness?
A healthy work force is the foundation for good business, as critical to your bottom line as the quality of products and services. To stem rising health costs and encourage healthier lifestyles, employers have been adding and expanding wellness programs. A University of Michigan study revealed health costs for a high-risk worker is three times that of a low-risk
employee. American Institute of Preventive Medicine reports 87.5 percent of health claim costs are due to lifestyle. Companies implementing wellness activities save from $3.48 to $5.42 for every dollar spent and
reduce absences 30 percent.
Costs can be minimal — from $50 to $500 or more per employee annually, plus incentives for health improvement. Instead of building a fitness center, offer employees a pedometer, mealtime walking programs and sessions on achieving better health. It’s as simple as selecting a salad, taking stairs or a 10-minute break to walk. Leadership involvement is critical to success. Your participation and engagement create ‘permission’ among employees to join the conversation and build health and wellness behaviors, like activity, into their daily work life.
What is the impact of overweight employees?
With nearly 70 percent of America’s work force overweight, businesses carry an additional $500 to $2,500 per employee in medical care and work loss totaling $50 billion in annual expenditures related to obesity alone. Expanding waistlines fuel increases in blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reaching epidemic proportions. The impact of too much weight on health quality and life expectancy is now equal to if not greater than smoking. Chronic diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and depression are responsible for two-thirds of the total increase in health care spending, taking an enormous toll on employees and their families.
Can you describe The Good Life?
As a health care system, we want to model a commitment to health and wellness. The Good Life program is at the heart of our efforts to build a culture of excellence that encourages employees to make healthier daily choices and improve their overall health. Initiatives include nutritious on-site food options, walking challenges, exercise classes, walking trails, weight reduction programs, gyms, smoke-free campuses, activity days, newsletters, work-life balance programs and more.
Other innovations include walking rather than sitting meetings, installing Wii sports stations to encourage activity during breaks and walking workstations. The latest evidence shows us that ongoing support of a dedicated onsite health coaching team can help employees with conditions like diabetes and hypertension make important life changes, lessen long-term complications and improve medical outcomes. Employees receive paycheck incentives by participating in confidential health assessments that help identify opportunities to improve health by setting and achieving personal goals. In the last year alone, employees walked 350,000 miles in walking challenges and achieved a combined total of 4,000 pounds in weight reduction.
What outcomes can wellness achieve?
Weight loss of as little as 5-10 percent can significantly impact cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. For every pound lost by those overweight, there’s a 4-pound reduction in knee-joint stress load. That’s almost 5,000 pounds less stress on one group of employees’ knees. We will gladly share wellness best practices forged in our own programs with other businesses aiming to improve employee health and lower both company and employee health care expenses.
Where can an employer start?
You can begin with an employee wellness committee to plan initiatives with guidance from health professionals. Start with simple screenings to make employees aware of their blood pressure, weight, cholesterol numbers, nutritional habits and fitness levels. Get your work force walking during meals and breaks. Offer sessions that share advice, activities and coaching to reach and maintain goals. Identify employee advocates to motivate others to follow their lead. Engage employees’ families to extend healthy habits at home. Partner with local hospitals and heart, cancer and lung associations.
MemorialCare hospitals can help employers with information and resources on low- to no-cost screenings, prevention and healthy lifestyle sessions at your company as well as in the community. And Memorialcare.org provides a number of online health risk assessments and wellness tips on the journey to better health.
Tammie Brailsford, RN, is executive vice president and chief operating officer, MemorialCare Health System. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.
There’s great hope on the coronary heart disease front with more options for diagnosis, treatment and recovery than ever before. Two-thirds of adults survive the disease — 27 percent higher than a decade ago — and impressive new technologies and techniques show tremendous promise.
Progress is impressive and risk factors well known, yet more Americans continue to die from coronary heart disease than any disease. While hereditary factors play a role, unhealthy lifestyle choices remain a significant culprit.
To learn more, Smart Business turned to Steven Schiff, M.D., prominent cardiologist and medical director of invasive cardiology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center; and David Perkowski, M.D., the medical director of cardiac surgery at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, who pioneered and has performed over 1,500 ‘beating heart’ surgeries.
How do heart attack symptoms vary among men and women?
For women — who die of heart disease more than men — symptoms can be so subtle patients may not suspect they’re in trouble. Symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, uncomfortable pressure, tightness or heaviness in the chest that doesn’t go away quickly; cold sweats or pounding heart; pain radiating up the shoulders or neck or down the arms or back; difficulty breathing; and/or shortness of breath. Because symptoms experienced by women tend to be more variable and less typical, care must be taken to consider the diagnosis of a heart attack or blocked arteries in female patients.
What risk factors are most prevalent?
Smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and heavy consumption of saturated and trans fats are prevalent among many Americans. These negatively impact cholesterol counts and blood pressure levels and can cause dangerous plaque build-up in coronary arteries. Too often, children will mirror their parents’ unhealthy habits. With one in three California children and teens overweight, the elevated number of kids with risk factors for heart disease — high body-mass index, glucose intolerance, elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol — translates into higher risks of coronary heart disease as they become adults, making family fitness essential.
How can health risks be lowered?
Lowering cholesterol and treating high blood pressure can reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, having a non-fatal heart attack or needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty. Preventive measures include maintaining an appropriate weight as well as eating foods low in cholesterol and fat. Reducing stress, controlling blood pressure and exercising regularly are important, as are regular check-ups, screenings and following a doctor’s advice.
What advances are available locally?
Orange County residents have access to world class heart care. Advanced and innovative diagnostic technologies, treatments and rehabilitation for heart disease are the norm at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institutes at our hospitals. These include open heart surgery, angioplasty, stenting and device implantation such as internal defibrillators and pacemakers. In addition, heart and vascular services offer catheter ablation, rehabilitation and centers for cardiac care for women. MemorialCare was the only West Coast health system to be listed among the 25 Best Health Systems for Overall Care and Heart Attack, Heart Failure and Surgical Care in Total Benchmark Solution’s Competition. We
are among just a few designated cardiac paramedic receiving centers in Orange County with emergency treatment times that beat the national average. And our hospitals are recognized for quality cardiac outcomes continually surpassing state and national standards.
Orange Coast Memorial is the area’s first hospital, and only a handful in the U.S., with a Hybrid Cardiovascular Interventional Suite. This advanced approach to heart care allows cardiac specialists to provide interventional treatments and surgery in one suite, reducing procedure time and stress on patients. We also offer angiography, angioplasty, bypass surgery or combinations of these in the Hybrid Suite. Our da Vinci robotic system offers breakthrough minimally invasive capabilities with greater surgical benefits.
Saddleback Memorial is a pioneer in off pump coronary artery bypass surgery, or ‘beating heart’ surgery, that is performed without stopping the heart, resulting in better preservation of heart function, reduced hospital stays and quick recoveries. We received American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Performance Award, honoring our attaining stringent guidelines for treating heart failure. Advances continue with a center that is dedicated to managing heart disease and other chronic conditions.
How can we create a healthier workplace?
A healthy lifestyle is your best defense against many diseases, and the workplace can help everyone achieve better health. MemorialCare offers programs and screenings, which include nutrition education, exercise tips and health activities, like break time walking groups. Ensuring the availability of fruits, vegetables and nutritious foods in vending machines and eating places also helps create healthy choices.
Memorialcare.com offers tools that help evaluate medical risks and health guides outlining heart attack symptoms, heart-healthy eating and women’s wellness. Our hospitals offer prevention programs and heart evaluations at worksites and other convenient locations.
Steven Schiff, M.D., is a cardiologist and medical director of invasive cardiology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center. David Perkowski, M.D., is medical director of cardiac surgery at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.
This year 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. And the lifetime probability of an invasive cancer is 44 percent for men and 38 percent for women. Thanks to significant advances and as well as a greater emphasis on preventive measures and healthier lifestyles, cancer diagnoses and deaths are declining.
To learn more, Smart Business spoke to Philip DiSaia, M.D., medical director, Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and world renowned leader and researcher in gynecologic oncology; and Amanda Termuhlen, M.D., medical director of Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, the region’s renowned pediatric cancer facility.
What causes cancer?
While causes are unknown, research helps us identify risks and cures. Since different cancers have different risk factors, understanding them helps with prevention. Controlling some risk factors — like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, and getting plenty of exercise — helps reduce your risk of cancer. Other risk factors, such as age, ethnicity, family history and inherited genes, cannot be changed. Genetic counseling offered through Long Beach Memorial helps patients determine their risk for diseases that may be inherited, including colon, uterine, breast and ovarian cancer. Families with a higher than expected number of cancer cases can benefit from our Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment consultation.
Why are the rates declining?
We are witnessing more effective diagnosis and treatment of major cancers. Screenings such as pap smears to detect cervical cancer, colonoscopies to identify colon cancer and PSA tests to determine the likelihood and treatment of prostate cancer are examples. Laws restricting smoking and education on its associated risks are stemming lung cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce onset of cancer. Vaccines like those to prevent cervical cancer in women may be effective in other cancers as well. Emerging treatment technologies, techniques and drug discoveries continue to help us to more accurately treat cancer with fewer side effects.
Can we access these advances locally?
Todd Cancer Institute and Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center are dedicated to early diagnosis, research and treatment as well as education of patients with cancer or serious blood disorders. Through interdisciplinary treatment planning conferences, specialists review new or difficult cases and develop treatment plans suited to each patient’s specific needs. Our world renowned Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Radiation Oncology Center consistently achieves breakthrough results, using the most advanced technologies and therapies. In addition, cancer patients can access more than 100 ongoing cancer research protocols.
Working at the forefront of adult cancer management are our divisions of gynecologic, thoracic, breast, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, radiation oncology, genetic counseling services and robotic surgery. We were one of the first cancer programs to make individualized cancer therapy and targeted treatment a clinical reality.
What is the progress on childhood cancers?
Children that are between infancy and age 15 represent more than 10,000 new cases of cancers diagnosed each year. Prior to the 1970s, only half of children with cancer survived beyond five years following diagnosis. Today, that number improved to 80 percent, thanks to better cancer drugs, treatment, research and access to clinical trials. At Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center, we support advanced diagnostic tools and treatments with comprehensive psychosocial services and a multi-disciplinary care team that follows every cancer patient or blood disorder patient from the time of admission, through their hospital stay, and throughout their follow-up care in outpatient settings. And the integration of new research efforts into treatment plans allows our patients access to leading therapies.
What can we expect in the future?
Scores of cancer therapies and treatments are in varying stages of development as researchers continue to learn more about cancer cell biology and new treatments. Therapeutic vaccines hope to harness a patient’s immune system. Pharmaceuticals are being created to better kill tumors by cutting off their blood supply. Gene sequencing looks for specific DNA mutations that occur with different types of cancers. The ability to identify those mutations may lead to new treatments. Physicians are now using the knowledge gained by research to look at an individual’s family history and DNA to predict cancer risk. Personalized screening for those at higher risk will help detect cancer at its earliest signs. Doctors will be better able to customize treatment, choosing the most effective treatment and avoiding those that will not work.
How can employers help?
Employers can encourage their work force to take advantage of cancer screenings. Wellness programs can be as simple as ensuring worksite eating places and vending machines offer healthy food, sharing exercise tips and providing pedometers and wellness incentives. Businesses can partner with our cancer centers, which offer onsite education. Our memorialcare.org website provides a wealth of information on cancer prevention, screenings, diagnosis and treatments.
Philip DiSaia, M.D., is the medical director of the Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. Amanda Termuhlen, M.D. is the medical director of Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.