Special to the Bulletin

With the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out as the launching date, officials of Brownwood Regional Medical Center have announced they intend to implement policies making the hospital campus and all associated buildings smoke-free beginning Nov. 16.

With the goal of leading through example, a joint task force that includes hospital employees, physicians and patient representatives has met since July to design a unified approach to the project. The ban on smoking within the entire campus and all associated buildings will apply to employees, volunteers, patients, visitors and medical staff. Currently, smoking is not allowed inside the hospital or associated buildings, but has been allowed on the outdoor hospital grounds.

“The community comes to us seeking great healthcare and too often the visit involves walking through secondhand smoke near our entrances,” Matt Maxfield, CEO of Brownwood Regional Medical Center, said. “We want to promote the hospital as a place for health and offer a smoke-free environment for all. We know this will be an inconvenience for some, but we believe we must be the example of health in the community.”

“As healthcare providers we want to offer care in a healing environment in a smoke free, easy breathing facility. As employers, we want to provide employees with rewarding work in a healthy environment. And as stewards of healthcare dollars, we know that millions are spent every year as a result of the use of tobacco products. Those expenses are passed on to the patients, insurers, employers and providers. Becoming a smoke-free environment is a winning proposition for everyone involved,” Maxfield said.

Brownwood Regional Medical Center encourages the public to join its efforts for a healthier community. For more information on how your business or workplace can become smoke-free, contact Donna Hair at 649-3392.