What's New

HaysMed's Exercise is Medicine

Hays Daily News
February 6, 2012

Physicians in Hays won't just be prescribing a bottle of pills to patients anymore. As part of an effort to encourage exercise as a remedy for overall health and to reduce chronic degenerative diseases, Hays Medical Center is encouraging its physicians and staff to prescribe exercise for patients.

As part of a quality goal for the hospital, Exercise is Medicine, a global initiative endorsed by the American Medical Association, is being emphasized.

During the past six months, HaysMed staff members have been educated about promoting awareness of exercise as a proven treatment for some ailments. Now, the word is getting out to the public through visits to the doctor's office.

"It's really powerful if a physician really advises a patient to exercise," said Stephanie Schaffer, fitness director at the Center for Health Improvement.

The program is not about funneling patients to CHI for exercise, said Melanie Urban, patient quality services director at HaysMed. Instead, information has been gathered for residents of Hays and outlying communities about where they can walk safely, exercises they can do and resources for particular diagnoses.

"If they have a patient that has cancer, there's exercise programs targeted for those patients," Urban said.

When patients are seen by physicians, they will be asked two questions: When you exercise, what do you do and at what intensity level? How many days a week do you do that activity? Schaffer said the questions hopefully will open a dialogue between patients and physicians about exercise in everyday wellness.

With the program, physicians can write patient referrals to exercise specialists about a patient's particular needs to give patients ideas of where to start, Urban said.

HaysMed sets four goals each year: quality, satisfaction, people and finance. Exercise is Medicine is the focus of the quality goal for this fiscal year and the next.