Lee Memorial Health Systems Offers Health by Choice, Not by Chance
Jan 29, 2016 10:57AM
● By Linda Sechrist
Since 2010, Lee Memorial Health System (LMHS) in Fort Myers, one of the largest in Florida, has been investing in the creation of a wellness culture focused on prevention. Today, the motto, “Health by choice, not by chance,” reveals a lot about the accountability that 275 LMHS employees accepted when they embarked on a journey to health via the organization’s most successful program, the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP).
“This affordable, nine-week lifestyle enrichment program, initially implemented in 2012 only for LMHS employees, is designed to reduce disease risk factors through the adoption of better health habits and appropriate lifestyle modifications. The goal is to lower blood cholesterol, hypertension and blood sugar levels, in addition to reducing excess weight. This is done by improving dietary choices, enhancing daily exercise, increasing support systems and decreasing stress, thus aiding in preventing and reversing disease,” says Vice President of Health and Wellness Sal Lacagnina, who notes the results were so encouraging that the program, managed by Lee Health Solutions, a department of LMHS, is now offered to the general public through the Lifestyle Medicine Institute, in Fort Myers.
“The original class of 30 LMHS employees and the second class of 50 who completed the program achieved significant improvements in blood pressure, lipids, glucose, weight and more. The participants were amazed with the improvements in energy and an overall feeling of well-being,” enthuses Lacagnina.
Healthy Life Center
The Healthy Life Center, located in a storefront at Coconut Point, in Estero, is the first of its kind in Southwest Florida. The center offers information, as well as preventive and restorative health and wellness programs, and is staffed by personal health advocates and health guides. This destination makes it simple and easy for individuals to learn about a variety of services and education that supports healthy lifestyles, early detection of disease, chronic disease management and much more.
Visitors can take advantage of the center’s on-site wellness library, as well as the wide variety of classes, workshops, screenings and seminars centered on healthy lifestyle options. Staff members can help individuals navigate LMHS healthcare services and assist in scheduling appointments with area physicians and outpatient services, such as physical therapy and diagnostic testing. Wellness-based programs are scheduled daily at the location, which is open seven days a week.
Healthy Lee’s efforts to improve population health with education and activities around healthy lifestyle choices that enhance health outcomes, as well as delivery, access or value for specific populations, were recently honored by America’s Essential Hospitals with the 2015 Gage Award for Population Health. What began as by convening 38 community leaders to help improve a health care delivery system and the health of residents now consists of a coalition of 300 organizations and a steering committee of 60 community leaders.
In the ancient, 3,000-year-old practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the doctor was paid a retainer to keep patients healthy. If a patient became sick, the doctor would not be paid until the patient’s health returned. It appears that healthcare may be at very promising crossroads, moving from the model of sickness and disease care to that of wellness and prevention. Even in a global community, perhaps history can repeat itself. However, this time around, it appears that health for all is a significant part.
For more information about Healthy Life Center hours and services, call 239-495-4475. Visit the full online calendar of events at LeeMemorial.org/HealthyLifeCenter. For information on Lifestyle Medicine Institute and CHIP, visit ChipHealth.com.