The Healthy Kansas Hospitals initiative is a project of the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation and is designed to help hospitals lead by example in promoting healthy behaviors. The program's goal is to help hospitals provide healthier food and beverage options throughout the facility for hospital employees, patients and visitors. I am pleased to announce we presented Clara Barton Hospital, Hoisington, and Hays Medical Center, Hays, with the 2016 Healthy Kansas Hospitals Centers of Excellence Award.
To date, 27 hospitals have formally adopted new food and beverage policies as part of the Healthy Kansas Hospitals initiative, and dozens more have signed the pledge to explore policy improvements. However, since signing the pledge, Clara Barton Hospital and Hays Medical Center have become exceptional role models for the program.
To implement and sustain food and beverage policy changes – and continuously bring new ideas to life – Clara Barton Hospital formed a Wellness Committee to take the reins. Clara's Corner Café, the hospital's dining area, now has a fresher, more robust salad bar, more nutritious snacks, and a variety of grilled, baked and steamed menu items in place of fried food options. The Wellness Committee also works with the community to promote healthy eating and exercise outside the facility, becoming more involved in local fitness activities.
Hays Medical Center formed its Healthy Hospital Committee to spearhead policy changes and ensure continuous development of new ideas to sustain momentum and reach. The hospital now dedicates a larger portion of its food budget to fresh fruits and vegetables, and more than two-thirds of all beverages served in the hospital have no added sugars. Very few starchy food options are available, and pricing and placement strategies put unhealthy options relatively "out of reach" at the Rock Garden Café, the hospital's recently remodeled kitchen and dining area.
Ultimately, both hospitals hope their efforts will pave the way for similar changes throughout their communities. With the transformational achievements they have already made and many more in the pipeline, it is understandable that Clara Barton Hospital and Hays Medical Center are being recognized as Centers of Excellence for Healthy Kansas Hospitals.
To learn more about the great work being done, and view the award presentations, go to videos highlighting Clara Barton Hospital's program and Hays Medical Center's program.
Congratulations to both of these KHA member hospitals, and congratulations to all Kansas hospitals who are promoting optimal health for Kansans by participating in the Healthy Kansas Hospitals program.