By CYNTHIA KMETT
The IRS has told non-profit hospitals that they have to prove they’re improving a community’s health if they want to protect that non-profit status. Beaumont Health, with eight hospitals and many auxiliary facilities, launched their first wellness improvement programs in Wayne County.
“Our job here is to keep you from getting sick and not going into the hospital,” explained Betty Priskorn, vice president at Beaumont Community Health and Outreach, addressing the Troy Kiwanis Club last Tuesday. She said they used a multitude of focus groups to learn what the public wanted from the health care system.
After all that access to the users of healthcare, Beaumont had to prioritize its offerings. The public, it appears, is most concerned with obesity, diabetes, and cardio/vascular fitness. Diverse as those topics might seem, Priskorn said that if everyone works together there can be a collective impact in what the community wants. They started collection meetings, bringing many diverse members of the community together in communities like Trenton and Dearborn to learn how to make sure everyone has access to the programs they want to offer.
Dearborn, for example, started a bike-sharing program. Before you get too excited, a donor stepped up with $1.2 million to get those wheels spinning. So far they have 10 bike stations, including ones at Ford and Fairlane Mall, and they’re working well.
Diabetes was also a problem in these communities, and everyone has been working to make information about the importance of good nutrition and exercise to combat this disease available to the public. “We started three years ago and it’s made a dramatic difference in the community,” Priskorn noted.
Today, Beaumont Health offers Wayne County communities lots of classes, events, school activities, and even Ti Chi classes.
With that part of the program working well, Priskorn observed it was time to expand to Oakland and Macomb Counties. Where to work was in part decided by how a county ranked in the state’s wellness rankings. Oakland County ranks 10th, Macomb County is 53rd, and Wayne County ranked last.
Where do we start here? Walking groups are a top priority. Walking lets people connect with others and get to know their neighbors again.
Now Beaumont has a new program called Beaumont Get Walking with CARROT. This is a community based walking initiative designed to help you “take steps” for a healthier future.
Beaumont Health knows that “movement is medicine.” Walking is one of the most powerful things you can do to support your own health. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. Walking can help you lose weight and gain energy. It can help improve your sleep and even slow down the aging process.
And, yes, there is a CARROT app. Have questions? Go to Help.carrotwellness.com or find more at Beaumont.org/getswalking.
Want to learn more about having a healthy heart and mind? Attend this free event on Tuesday, May 8 from 5- 7:30 p.m. with WDIV’s Paula Tutman. There will be appetizers, refreshments, and prizes. The event includes heart health information from Michael Tucciarone, M.D. interventional cardiologist; information on what a stroke is, types, signs, and symptoms with Sara Chung, RN, stroke program coordinator; and stroke treatment options with Esther Young. D.O. neurologist. There’s also an interactive health fair and Beaumont pharmacists will be there to answer your medication questions.
Get a free blood pressure screening and learn to do hands-only CPR, too. It all happens at Beaumont Hospital – Troy on Dequindre in the Moceri Learning Center.
To register, call 800- 633-7377 or go to Beaumont.org/heart