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Can This Be the Healthiest Place in America?

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 21, 2013

Economically, "the healthier patient is going to pay off" for the hospital, Nichols says. "This is a nice crossover for a healthier community as we enter the new world of (value-based care)."

Town leaders have written the "principals" of what they envision of a healthy community to be in their master plan. "They have developed streets that include sidewalks and bike lanes that aren't barriers to people [going out and walking]. And there is a lot of emphasis on local foods, and access to fruits and vegetables," Nichols says. "It sounds a little crunchy, but it's really not, it can be done."

For its work, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene has been awarded the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living The Vision Award from the American Hospital Association reflecting the AHA's "vision of a society of healthy communities where all individuals reach their highest potential for health."

While the community is actively promoting its program, there's a way to go. Less than half of its residents—49%—know about the hospital's goals. "We know if we're going to be successful, we need everyone on board with Healthy Monadnock 2020," the hospital says.

It's a lofty goal, but 2020 is a long way off and Nichols is enthusiastic. In the meantime, the rest of America might consider doing what Cheshire County is actively trying to accomplish.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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1 comments on "Can This Be the Healthiest Place in America?"


J. Kuriyan (11/22/2013 at 9:32 AM)
While Cheshire County has to be commended for the effort, how do they propose to prove that the health of their population is improving, let alone claim to be the "healthiest"? Of course they can make it more easy for residents to follow a healthier lifestyle but the central question remains "If you build it, will they come?" A claim for a "healthier environment" doesn't justify being labeled as a "healthier community" until there is quantitative proof that the health of residents is improving.