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Pen Bay Medical Center & Waldo County General Hospital Recognized for Tobacco-Free Achievements

December 02, 2021

ROCKPORT, Maine – Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital have earned platinum level recognition from the annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program for their commitment to addressing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure through campus smoke and tobacco-free policies and promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

“Comprehensive tobacco-free policies not only reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, they have been shown to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use, increase the number of tobacco users who quit and lower the number of young people who start using tobacco,” said Mark Fourré, MD, president of PBMC and WCGH. “Our tobacco-free policies contribute to a healthier environment for all in our communities.”

The Gold Star Standards of Excellence Hospital and Healthcare Organization Program, part of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breath Easy initiative, recognizes health care organizations at the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze levels based on best-practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment. This is the third consecutive year that PBMC and WCGH have received platinum level recognition. Both hospitals began participating in the program in 2010.

“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine hospitals and healthcare organizations to address tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and nicotine dependence by meeting the Gold Star Standards of Excellence,” said Kristen McAuley, tobacco prevention services director for the Center of Tobacco Independence. “Addressing tobacco use has continued importance during the current pandemic, as the US CDC states that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”

All Maine hospitals and health care organizations were encourage to apply for recognition. This year marks the twelfth annual hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program and the second year health care organizations were invited to apply for recognition. For more information about the Gold Star Standards of Excellence, please visit BreatheEasyMaine.org/GSSE.

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About the Breathe Easy Initiative
The Breathe Easy Initiative at the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence is dedicated to providing Maine’s hospitals with the information and resources needed to make all organizations smoke and tobacco-free. The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services. Maine Prevention Services is an initiative through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention working across the state to impact tobacco, substance use and obesity.

About Pen Bay Medical Center

Pen Bay Medical Center is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit pbmc.org.

About Waldo County General Hospital
Waldo County General Hospital is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit wcgh.org.


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