Harriman hospital going tobacco free in '11

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Roane Medical Center in Harriman will implement a tobacco-free initiative in 2011.

As a member of Covenant Health, it is among the Knoxville area hospitals that will have a tobacco-free campus as of Jan. 1.

The unified effort among the five major health systems in the Knoxville area is intended to provide an optimal healing environment for patients, visitors and staff at the hospitals, and to encourage healthier lifestyles for the entire community.

Executives from Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health Partners and The University of Tennessee Medical Center announced their plans earlier this month.

In early 2010, health system leaders announced they would have tobacco-free workplaces by Jan. 1.

The new decision extends the tobacco ban to all patients,
families and visitors both inside and on the grounds of the hospitals.

“At Roane Medical Center, we have made a commitment to our patients to provide the best possible patient care, and that means providing not only excellent healthcare services but also a clean and healthy healing environment,” said Jim Gann, president and chief administrative officer of Roane Medical Center.

The tobacco-free campus policy applies to hospitals throughout East Tennessee operated by the five health systems. While there may be slight differences in administration of the policy at each hospital, the universal component of the measure is that no one will be allowed to smoke or use tobacco products while on hospital campuses operated by the five health systems.

Tennessee is tied for eighth in the U.S. in terms of highest percentage of smokers and has the 14th highest percentage of smokeless tobacco product users, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Administrators of the health systems have worked together to promote healthier lifestyles among community members.

Hospital leaders believe prohibition of use of tobacco products on their campuses is the best process for the health of all who visit their facilities.

They say the ban also presents an opportunity for community education regarding the health risks associated with smoking and tobacco usage.

Roane Medical Center aims to offer personalized patient care through quality medical and surgical care, emergency services, prevention programs, rehabilitation support and health education.

The hospital staff has extensive expertise in specialized services that include diagnostic imaging, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and many others.

Roane Medical Center, founded in 1939, also offers services through its subsidiaries, Emory River Senior Behavioral Health, RMC Patricia Neal Outpatient Center, and RMC Sleep Center.