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Roane General Hospital writing ‘Prescription for Your Health’

SPENCER — As Roane General Hospital breaks ground on its expansion this afternoon, the hospital presents a new program titled “Prescription for your Health” that will debut when the expansion opens in 2021.

The program, first introduced in January, is “an opportunity to provide tools and remove access barriers for greater health and well-being for patients and the community,” Roane General officials said.

A contract or agreement will be formed between patients and their primary care physician, Doug Bentz, Roane General CEO, said.

The agreement will “develop an individualized care plan that incorporates your preventive medicine, testing and care planning,” Bentz said. “There’s an educational component to it and there’s a medical and fitness component to it.”

Primary care physicians will analyze the patients and cater the plan to meet their needs. Depending on the patient, the doctor may recommend routine testing, ensure that all medications are taken regularly and to instill an exercise program.

Once the needs are addressed, the contract or agreement will be established. As an incentive to stay on track, patients will receive a few perks for their participation in the program.

Free access to a “beautiful state-of-the-art fitness facility,” according to Bentz, will be one of those perks. Participants will receive a personalized fitness plan that is specific to them.

Nutrition classes will be available at no cost. “Nutrition is going to drive our health status,” Bentz said.

Another perk is the possibility of receiving a discount on medical bills, Bentz said. If patients do not adhere to the agreement, they will lose all benefits.

Scott Duffy, cardiologist at Roane General, said the idea for the program “arose from the fact that I was writing prescriptions to the fitness center for exercise.” Because of that, Bentz was inspired to incorporate exercise and other healthy practices into the program.

Duffy said instead of just promoting health in the community, Roane General is hoping to promote wellness.

“(We’re) trying to be very comprehensive in the idea of promoting wellness and not just writing a prescription or just saying ‘you should exercise,'” Duffy said.

The program is unique, Duffy said. In his years of medicine, he has never seen a program like this, he said. Members of the hospital are “talking about trying to bring all aspects of someone’s life together,” Duffy said.

Overall, “we want to help improve the population in Roane County and promote exercise,” Duffy said. “We’d like to inspire people to be healthier.”

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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