Matessino says healthcare workers must be role models in any effort to encourage Louisianans to take personal responsibility for improving and maintaining their health.
"If we are going to be leaders in the delivery of healthcare we have got to learn to walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to healthy lifestyles," he says. "We want our hospitals to be examples to the community and hopefully through their efforts they can promote all businesses and schools to be aware of health and what it takes to eat healthy and not be sick," he says. "We are out there telling people 'look folks we are out here when you get sick but we don't want to take care of you prematurely.'"
Hospital CEOs throughout Louisiana sent "Campaign Champions" from their organizations to Baton Rouge last week for orientation. There they were given the training and resources to build a wellness team at their hospitals that will create hospital-specific worksite wellness action plans for their employees and communities, Matessino says.
LHA wants hospitals to design programs that fit their specific size and community rather than shoe-horning all hospitals into a one-size-fits-all program. The campaign has the backing of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Business Group on Health.