Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coronary Artery Risk Evaluation, A Partnership With Community Hospital

CARE: Coronary Artery Risk Evaluation 

Boise (Idaho) Police Department takes initiative on life-saving program that catches on here in Mesa County  

By: Katie, MCSO Intern

When you think officer safety, issues like driving, firearms and patrol stops, are on the forefront. Yet, what seems to slip through the cracks is often an officer’s physical health.

A new initiative by the Boise (Idaho) Police Department—BPD, has been noticed and taken into consideration by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. In conjunction with Community Hospital in Grand Junction, CARE—Coronary Artery Risk Evaluation, will become the newest in-house program the Sheriff's Office has to offer its employees.

According to an article printed in Police Chief Magazine, January 2014 edition, the physical heart/health program was designed by the BPD to "demonstrate the need for life-saving programs to take a much more personalized approach and consider personal health an element of officer safety, particularly heart disease."

According to BPD Chief Masterson as printed in the Police Chief Magazine, "Education, nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices are just as important for officer safety as tactical and firearms training."

By adopting a progressive program that emphasizes the importance of personal health, wellness, and living a healthy lifestyle, while testing for coronary artery disease, we hope to preempt the premature death or damage caused by a major heart attack here at the Sheriff’s Office, Captain Don Hendricks, said. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers dying on the job from heart disease, is on the rise nationally.

According to an article from the National Business Group on Health, the average total cost of a severe heart attack—including direct and indirect costs—is about $1 million. Direct costs include charges for hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs, while the indirect costs include lost productivity and time away from work. The average cost of a less severe heart attack is about $760,000. Amortized over 20 years, that's $50,000 per year for a severe heart attack and $38,000 per year for a less severe heart attack.

Maintaining productivity, helping employees keep healthcare costs low(er) and investing in our employees is what CARE is all about, Captain Hendricks, said.

CARE will be achieved by conducting the following health screenings:
Health Risk Questionnaire
Bio-metric Screening
Coronary Calcium Score (every 3-5 years)
Cardiac Stress Test

Health screenings will be offered to employees of the Sheriff's Office, that are:
Female, 45-years-old or older
Male, 35-years-old or older
A person of any age or gender diagnosed with diabetes
And those who voluntarily choose to participate (the emphasis is on sworn employees and those who meet the above criteria, but any employee will be accepted into CARE)

The program is funded primarily through a Justice Assistance Grant (provided by the U.S. Department of Justice), with additional funding from the agency’s budget, if needed.

“The health and well being of our employees is an investment we value equal to the training and tools they require to perform at a high level in their duties, for the citizens of Mesa County,” Sheriff Rebecca Spiess, said. “We have this unique opportunity to provide a specialized program in health prevention for both sworn and civilian employees, which aligns with the innovative and community focus of Community Hospital.” She went on to say, “I believe CARE is going to save lives!”

Community Hospital and the CARE program have a mission to improve the health and quality of life of the employees through education and prevention, individual risk-reduction, health coaching/care management and behavior change programs, Captain Hendricks and Connie Mack of Community Hospital, said. A more modern trend in human resources is that companies want better relationships with their employees, whom they consider to be their greatest assets. That philosophy is no different at the Sheriff's Office, according to Captain Hendricks.

Keeping the citizens of Mesa County safe, and the men and women who protect and patrol the community we all live in, safe and healthy is a top priority of this agency, both Sheriff Spiess and Captain Hendricks, said. He went on to say, "we are excited and eager to implement CARE."