FORT KENT — Peter Sirois, President and Chief Executive Officer at Northern Maine Medical Center, was informed by Barbara Ginley, Program Manager for the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence, that NMMC has been recognized at the platinum level of excellence for its efforts in tobacco independence.
Sirois said, “NMMC has participated in the initiative for four years. The implementation of tobacco reduction strategies, for both our patients and our employees, continues to be an important part of our Community Health Action Plan. It is part of our commitment to the health and wellness of the people we serve.” The Gold Star Standards of Excellence provides an annual opportunity to recognize Maine’s hospitals for the work they have done to create tobacco‐free environments and support healthy lifestyles.
All Maine hospitals are invited to apply annually to determine ongoing support for the reduction of tobacco use across their service areas. Award levels are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment. The Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative held the annual Tobacco-Free Hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 27, to celebrate the efforts of Maine hospitals to address smoking and tobacco use on their campuses.
The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network, an initiative of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, recognizes hospitals that have worked diligently to prohibit smoke and tobacco use on campus and address client tobacco use by bestowing upon them the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network Gold Star Standards of Excellence Recognition award.
This year, the Gold Star Standards of Excellence awards program added a recognition level to continue to encourage hospitals to adopt policies with comprehensive language and continue to implement procedures that support the promotion of tobacco-free lifestyles. NMMC, the only hospital in Aroostook County, along with eight other Maine hospitals, was successful in achieving the new Platinum level recognition.
This year, 32 hospitals from across the state and three gold star champions were recognized for their achievements in advancing campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.
At the celebration event held in Augusta, Kenneth I. Lewis, Senior Director for the Center for Tobacco Independence stated that, “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Maine and the United States; we applaud these thirty two Maine hospitals for taking proactive steps to address tobacco use and exposure within their organization.”
For more information about the Tobacco-Free Hospital initiative and Gold Star Standards of Excellence recognition program, please visit MaineTobaccoFreeHospitals.org/GSSE.
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