Hospital looks to transform rural health care with new program

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Roane General Hospital is putting the final touches on a $20 million addition set to open Feb. 1 and become home to many new programs looking to completely change the way people look at their health.

The Center for Wellness will allow people to work on fitness goals set by their doctors through a “prescription for your health,” a contract with the patient that focuses on preventing medical problems before they begin. People will have free access to the gym, classes and coaching in the new facility.

“You are going to be accountable,” hospital CEO Doug Bentz said. “If you don’t use it, you are going to lose that access. If you use the fitness facility and you follow the health plan that is going to be developed, all of these things are going to be free to you. We are trying to make a transformational shift from medical care to health.”

Bentz said the program is the next step for the hospital and rural health care, as many other small hospitals in the region close. While Roane General is not the best place for major procedures, Bentz said they can bring top level specialty care to the area. Those doctors will work with patients through medical issues by creating wellness plans, like nutrition counseling for diabetics and smoke sensation classes for smokers.

“We want to do the preventative medicine as best we can,” Bentz said. “So, folks like me who need their annual colonoscopy, that’s perfect. It’s an extra insensitive for me to get it. It’s an extra structure and organization as part of my health plan. If I want to be healthy, I need to do my part and go get my colonoscopy.”

The program is for the general public, in addition to people who have completed physical therapy and other rehabilitation programs at the hospital. They are all in the same area within the new facility and allow for patients to flawlessly move between the programs.

“We are able to transition them into a fitness program where they can still be supervised but be able to carry that on, not just for weeks or months, but for lifelong kinds of programs,” program director Jeff Tanner said. “That’s the part that is exciting to us, is to help people take this step, get over those hurdles then get them into another program where they can really continue to thrive and progress and get stronger, and meet the goals they really want to meet.”

Tanner said the medical fitness program will allow people to get fully recovered once they have graduated from their therapy treatment. His goal is to focus on wellness and allow people to live healthy lives while preventing future problems.

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