(Bryn Mawr, Pa.) – Main Line Health will implement a new “Tobacco Use Impact on Employment Policy” aimed at reducing the use of tobacco and nicotine products among Main Line Health employees. As part of the new policy, Main Line Health will no longer hire tobacco and nicotine users after Thursday, May 1, 2014. Additionally, when registering for Main Line Health medical benefits, current employees will be required to certify whether or not they use tobacco or nicotine products. Those who use tobacco or nicotine products will pay a surcharge for their health care benefits beginning in 2015.
“As a health system, it is our responsibility to set an example of wellness and disease prevention for our patients, employees and the community,” said Paul Yakulis, senior vice president, human resources, Main Line Health. “And, as good stewards of our financial resources, we also know that placing this focus on smoking—a behavior related to significantly increased medical costs—can improve both our employees’ health and Main Line Health’s financial well-being.”
Smoking is the #1 leading cause of preventable death. Research shows that smoke-free policies can dramatically reduce illness and even death from heart disease. For the past 25 years, Main Line Health has maintained a smoke-free policy within all of its buildings, and in 2009, this policy expanded to include the grounds of each campus. This new effort enhances the health system’s commitment to promoting health and wellness.
Under the “Tobacco Use Impact on Employment” policy, applicants will have to certify that they have not used tobacco products or nicotine in any form in the 90-day period prior to submitting an application to Main Line Health, and that they will remain tobacco-free during their employment with the health system. In addition, their offer of employment will be contingent on a negative nicotine lab screening result.
Employees found in violation of the policy will be subject to disciplinary action, requiring them to complete a smoking cessation program and be subject to random nicotine lab screenings for a two-year period.
To help Main Line Health employees become tobacco-free, the health system offers free smoking cessation classes. The six-class program includes access to Chantix and/or nicotine replacement therapy products as well as individual follow-up support. Employees who complete the classes receive a $100 incentive payment.