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Breaking ground

Community Hospital introduces its integrated wellness center

In an era of escalating health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the value of a “wellness” approach to healthcare is gaining support from the public and as an element of healthcare reform.

More people than ever recognize that there are steps they can take to prevent some diseases or at least slow their progression. The aim is to create a lifestyle not just of intervention but of prevention, not just of surviving but of thriving. To that end, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula is advancing the concept of integrated wellness in mid-2011 as part of its new medical campus in Marina.

Integrated wellness combines health risk assessments, clinical monitoring, and fitness to help people identify and then manage health risks.

“We see this as an exciting and timely opportunity for bringing prevention, health, and wellness to our broader community,” says Dr. Steven Packer, president and CEO of Community Hospital. “Wellness facilities like this one have been created in more than 1,000 communities.”

Marina wellness centerA 33,800-square-foot wellness facility will adjoin a medical office building Community Hospital is opening in Marina at Imjin Parkway and 2nd Avenue, across from the Dunes of Monterey Bay shopping center that includes REI and Target. The 27,500-square-foot building will include primary care through Community Hospital’s affiliate, Peninsula Primary Care; a satellite laboratory; and X-ray services.

The center is a timely development in light of healthcare reform. Government insurance such as Medicare will begin reimbursing healthcare providers for how well they manage patients’ health, rather than on how much they do. Commercial insurers will then follow this approach. This requires access to primary care and strategies to promote wellness, both of which are the focus of the Marina campus.

The center will include a cardiovascular fitness and rehabilitation area; physical, speech, and occupational therapy components; a warm-water therapy pool; a lap pool; an area for strength training; and locker rooms. Community Hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Wellness program and outpatient Rehabilitation Services department will relocate to this state-of-the-art facility in 2011. 

Clinical and fitness employees will work with members’ doctors to guide patients toward improved health. The center will focus on people recovering from an acute experience like a heart attack and learning to manage their risk of recurrence, as well as those simply interested in managing health risks with professional guidance.

“Most people aren’t completely sick or completely well,” Packer says. “We’re all on a continuum, so it makes sense to have a place where people can improve their health and well-being while managing risk factors.

”Imagine, he says, a 58-year-old woman who is intimidated at the gym by the sea of spandex and muscle mass but concerned about her high blood pressure and family history of heart disease. She can go to the wellness center for a risk assessment; learn her body mass index, blood pressure, and other important numbers; and receive a personalized prescription for wellness. Then, she can exercise in a modern fitness facility under the guidance of trained professionals.

Membership will be open to the public. Dues have not been set, but membership will be on a month-to-month basis rather than on a contract for a specific period.

“Our end vision," Packer says, "is driven by understanding that the most effective way to treat disease is to intervene early.”

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