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MGH wins Anthem Award

FIGHTING TOBACCO: Sheila Bell of Anthem, Inc., awards Marion General Hospital with the Smoking Cessation Quitline Award. From left to right: Jeff Wakefield, CFO; Ann Vermilion, Director of Medical Staff Services & Community Outreach; Sheila Bell, Anthem Representative; Cindy Futrell, CNO; Jalinda Pursifull, Tobacco Treatment Specialist; Michele Renaud, Coordinator Clinical Applications; Carlos Guerrero, Respiratory Therapy Manager; Stephanie Hilton-Siebert, MGH President & CEO; Melo-Dee Collins, Director of Cardiovascular Services; and Kelley Hochstetler, Community Education Coordinator.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion General Hospital won an award for its efforts to combat tobacco use in Grant County from insurance company Anthem, Inc.

The Smoking Cessation Quitline Award centers around the hospital receiving 79 referrals to its smoking quitline in the third quarter of 2018. Grant County is tied for second place for the highest amount of tobacco use in the state, according to Kelley Hochstetler, community education coordinator. To curb this statistic, MGH has bolstered its efforts to stub out smoking.

“This rewards our efforts …. (and) keeps the momentum going to decrease our statistics for smokers in Grant County,” said Director of Cardiovascular Services Melo-Dee Collins. 

Anthem Medicaid received 79 referrals to its quitline between July and September.

The TORCH Coalition, a group tasked with increasing smoking cessation, partnered with the hospital to set up the quitline.

According to Collins, the quitline has received a recent boost to spread awareness to Grant County smokers.

“We’re really starting to promote this through our educational endeavors,” Collins said.

According to Collins, smoking causes a number of serious health issues such as cancer, strokes and heart attacks.

“We made it a priority,” she added. “We set resources aside to really focus on this.”

The hospital also pulled together multiple departments to make the quitline as successful as possible.

According to Carlos Guerrero, respiratory therapy manager at MGH, there are multiple reasons for the high rates of smoking in the county, such as ease of access and socioeconomic status.

“There’s just so many possibilities,” he added.

The award was presented by Anthem, Inc. Practice Consultant Sheila Bell, who said the hospital’s efforts to stop smoking are “phenomenal.”

According to Bell, quitlines have many benefits.

“It’s important to improve patient’s quality of health, and it also helps save money in the long run,” she said.

To stop smoking, smokers can can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. After doing so, smokers will be provided with information and can speak with counselors.