When it comes to wellness, Saint Vincent Hospital is not just a provider, but also an active user of health care. With more than 3,000 associates, Erie County’s fourth largest employer has a vested interest in keeping its work force and the community well.
“If you think about it, the wellness of our work force and the jobs we do every day are critically important,” explains Scott Whalen, Ph.D., F.A.C.H.E., the hospital’s president and chief executive officer. “We truly believe we are making a difference in the health and delivery system overall.”
Whalen’s arrival at Saint Vincent in 2011 came at a time when health care across America was beginning to change and especially for Erie’s first hospital. Saint Vincent, operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania since 1875, was looking at its future and had a tough decision to make.
Working with board members, community leaders and business owners, administrators sat down to discuss whether Saint Vincent could stand alone in this new environment. Through a long process with stakeholders, it was determined that they needed to find a partner with a similar vision — with an emphasis on prevention and wellness across the continuum of care.
In July 2013, Saint Vincent merged with Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network (AHN), an integrated delivery system of eight hospitals that includes Jefferson Regional Medical Center, five hospitals in the West Penn Allegheny Health System and Westfield Memorial Hospital. Now, more than a year later, the union has helped put Saint Vincent in a better position to respond to needs of the community and its own work force.
Saint Vincent has been recognized with the Healthiest Employer Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, the American Heart Association’s Fit Friendly Award and was one of six Pennsylvania hospitals to receive the Worksite Innovation Award for creative ways to get employees involved in their health.
“When you talk about HR, I’m on both sides of the issue,” explains Whalen. “I’m a user and a producer of the same kind of goods and services and our health-care costs go up every year, just like everyone else. So we developed a whole host of wellness initiatives and incentives for our associates that can also be used for employers.”
Read more in the September 2014 edition of the Business Magazine.