Seven North Shore-LIJ Health System hospitals based in New York City achieved Bronze Star status from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign for maintaining smoke-free campuses and providing effective smoking cessation programs.
The hospitals that received this designation include: Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens; Forest Hills Hospital; Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan; LIJ Medical Center in Queens; Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in Manhattan; Staten Island University Hospital; and Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks.
The North Shore-LIJ Health System is the first health system in New York City to achieve the Bronze Star designation. To gain this distinction, the hospitals’ smoke-free campus policy was reviewed along with its human resource policies related to employee programs to quit smoking. Also, an environmental evaluation of the hospitals looked at compliance with these programs.
“We are committed to preventing smoking-related diseases and protecting the public from secondhand smoke at our facilities,” said Nancy Copperman, North Shore-LIJ’s director of public health initiatives, who coordinated work on the Bronze Star designation with Patricia Folan, RN, director of the health system’s Center for Tobacco Control. In addition, each facility had a team that worked on this initiative.
In addition to the Bronze Star, there is silver and gold status, which addresses specific patient populations at facilities. The North Shore-LIJ Bronze Star hospitals are working on achieving silver status, which is related to in-patients. The Joint Commission recommends that hospitals follow-up with discharged patients 30 days after they leave the hospital to see if they have quit smoking or if they need help doing so. Ms. Folan said she is looking forward to working with the hospitals to accomplish this. Currently, the hospitals offer smokers cessation medications and counseling when they are at the facility. When patients are discharged, they get information about continuing medications and are referred to smoking cessation services in their area.
“Smoking is still the leading cause of premature preventable deaths in New York City. While the adult smoking rate is at an all-time low (14 percent), there are still an estimated 850,000 New Yorkers who smoke. We commend North Shore-LIJ Health System’s effort to help New Yorkers quit smoking by creating a tobacco-free campus for staff, patients and visitors, and providing employees with the best possible tobacco-cessation services,” said Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
North Shore-LIJ Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dowling signed the Tobacco-Free New York City hospital pledge in September 2011, which started the hospitals’ participation in this program.
For more information, contact the Community Health office at 516-465-2500. For information about smoking cessation programs, contact the Center for Tobacco Control at 516-466-1980.