The campuses of Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center and its long-term care facility, Parkview Center, are going tobacco-free.
One year from now, on the day of the Great American Smokeout, Nov. 20, 2008, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted - inside or outside - on hospital-owned property, including parking lots.
In 1994, the hospital implemented a policy that prohibited smoking in all buildings. Now, to further advance the health and safety of its employees, patients/residents and visitors, the Board of Directors is giving its support to extending this restriction to include all grounds and parking lots owned by the hospital.
"As a health care organization, we believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue by promoting and supporting a culture of healthy living," CEO Thomas Sommers said.
This initiative will include the elimination of designated smoking areas outside the hospital and Parkview Center where employees, patients/residents and visitors currently use tobacco products.
During the coming year, information will be shared and signs will be posted announcing details of the new policy. In addition, free smoking cessation classes will be offered to employees and the public.
According to an April 2007 survey of Nebraska Hospital Association's 85 member hospitals, approximately 30 percent of survey respondents had established tobacco-free hospital campus policies. Fifty percent of those without tobacco-free campuses had plans to implement such a policy within the next two years.