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FHC receives first “Gold Star” hospital system recognition from NC Prevention Partners

| Date Posted: 3/12/2010

FHC receives first “Gold Star” hospital system recognition from NC Prevention Partners

Gold Star

Melva Fager Okun, senior program manager for NC Prevention Partners, (fifth from left), was at Moore Regional Hospital recently to acknowledge FirstHealth of the Carolinas’ recognition as a “Gold Star Standard” hospital system. Also pictured are Linda Harte and Barbara Bennett of FirstHealth Community Health Services; Dan Biediger, FirstHealth vice president for Human Resources; Heather Mountz, Prevention Partners Quit Tobacco coordinator; John Krahnert, M.D.; and Elise McInnis and Ken Lewis of FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company.


PINEHURST – FirstHealth of the Carolinas recently became the first hospital system in North Carolina to receive the “Gold Star Standard Hospitals” designation from NC Prevention Partners (NCPP). The award recognizes FirstHealth’s high standard of excellence for the tobacco-cessation programs it offers to its employees.

A leader in reducing preventable illness and early death in North Carolina caused by tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity, NCPP helped North Carolinas’ acute care hospitals go 100 percent tobacco free campus wide. Its mission as a nonprofit organization is “Prevention first for a healthier North Carolina.”

“FirstHealth of the Carolinas was the first health system in North Carolina to become 100 percent tobacco-free campus wide,” says Melva Fager Okun, senior program manager with NC Prevention Partners. “Building on that leadership, it is the now the first health system to meet the top level of achievement in establishing a quit-tobacco system for its employees. FirstHealth is saving lives and also setting a high bar for other hospitals in North Carolina and the nation to follow.”

NCPP works with the corporate leaders and staffs of North Carolina hospitals to enhance tobacco-cessation efforts and to make resources available to all hospital employees and patients. Its work with hospitals is funded by The Duke Endowment and is offered in partnership with the North Carolina Hospital Association. 

FirstHealth has served as a Center of Excellence for its quit-tobacco initiatives. It also assists other hospitals in making similar quit-tobacco enhancements.

“FirstHealth is dedicated to making policy changes geared toward the improved health of its employees, including creating a comprehensive system that helps employees give up tobacco,” says FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock, who also serves on the NCPP Board of Directors. “We include tobacco cessation and other wellness goals in various organizational initiatives, including our business plans, and we actively encourage and support our employees – and our patients – as they work toward adopting healthier lifestyles. We welcome this ‘Gold Star’ recognition from NC Prevention Partners as an acknowledgement of our tobacco-free status and as an endorsement of our tobacco-free leadership efforts.”

FirstHealth received its “Gold Star” recognition by referring its employees to effective quit-tobacco counseling, by providing comprehensive benefits (including nicotine replacement therapies) to employees and by offering incentives to encourage employees to quit tobacco.

For more information on NC Prevention Partners, visit For more information on FirstHealth of the Carolinas, visit


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