Change has always been the name of game, but even more so these days. The public keeps expecting new ways of getting products and services into their hands.
That’s what Gastonia-based CaroMont Health is doing. The parent company for Gaston Memorial Hospital has just launched the county’s first health wellness coach.
This 39-foot, state-of-the-art vehicle is a mini-clinic on wheels, offering mammography and other preventive screenings. You’ll be seeing the big coach parked at organizations and businesses and throughout the community.
The folks at CaroMont say the coach will be staffed with a team of professionals offering the same level of care available at clinical office-based mammography locations.
Inside the vehicle are two changing rooms, a clinical exam room and a registration area.
Digital mammography will be the only service offered, but cardiovascular services and procedures services like blood-pressure checks can be scheduled to accompany the coach on request.
Wellness is a recurring theme around Gaston lately. And that’s good news.
I recently attended the announcement of Gaston’s Nurse-Family Partnership public health program for low-income, first-time mothers.
Implemented by the county health department, this nationally recognized program will work to improve maternal health, child health and development and economic conditions for families.
First-time mothers will meet with a registered nurse starting early in pregnancy and continue until the child’s second birthday.
CaroMont’s new mobile coach is another resource in the ongoing campaign for improving health in the community.
CEO and President Randy Kelley told me the coach will “go where the people are.”
That might be a school, church, business, neighborhood organization or health fair. On Aug 8-9, the coach will be at the orientation for Gaston school teachers held at Gaston College.
Hopefully, the mobile wellness center will attract people “who might not come to the hospital,” Kelley said.
There’s a charge for some services. Kelley said a mammography will cost less than $200, and the charge for a cardiovascular screening will be $30. Wellness screenings for blood pressure, height and weight and bone marrow are free. Customers can choose whatever combination of services they like.
Andrea Serra, vice president of Wellness Development at CaroMont, told me the wellness coach is already showing results: Two women getting mammograms have tested positive, she said.
Serra and Kelley talked about the old days when hospitals were the center of the universe. You checked in sick, the folks at the hospital made you better and you went home – right back to the same unhealthy lifestyle.
In the New World Order of health-care reform, the focus will be on keeping people out of the hospital.
Serra said that instead of eating and acting like you’ve always done, you’ll be held more accountable for choices.
She gave me an example about the importance of little decisions we make by calling my attention to Gaston Memorial’s cafeteria. In 2011, a new order went into effect there.
When you enter the cafeteria line, you’ll notice food items’ “red,” “yellow” and “green” designations, which help you make a judgment on what to order. “Red” means eat this item sparingly; “yellow” means with eat in moderation; and “green” signals its OK to chow down all the way.
Serra has heard comments like this from the line: “I’m not having that. That’s a red.”
Health-care reform will be driven by individuals having more personal responsibility for the decisions they make.
Picking the right kind of foods and taking time to get a health screening – choices that could mean life or death. Gaston has some great things going to help folks move in the right direction.