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BHS and Canyon Ranch partner on new wellness initiative

Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) and the Canyon Ranch Institute are teaming up to bring a health and wellness initiative to underserved members of the Berkshire community.

“We’re announcing a partnership between Berkshire Health Systems and Canyon Ranch Institute that we expect will begin to develop a culture of wellness for our community,” Berkshire Health Systems President and CEO David Phelps remarked during a news conference at Berkshire Medical Center.

“We’re thrilled about working with Berkshire Health Systems in great part because BHS is already so deeply engaged in community health and wellness efforts,” said Canyon Ranch Institute Executive Director Jennifer Cabe.

The institute works through partnerships with other nonprofits, and its partnership with BHS will be its 17th overall.

“This new partnership is designed to bring the award-winning Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program here to The Berkshires,” said Ms. Cabe.

She added it is the institute’s most comprehensive initiative to date.

The life enhancement program is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary program developed by Canyon Ranch to help prevent health problems and improve health outcomes through sessions covering topics such as exercise, nutrition and stress management.

The program consists of 12 three-hour group sessions including classroom time and fitness and stress-management activities, as well as food preparation demonstrations and a grocery shopping excursion. It also includes individual consultations with health professionals.

Canyon Ranch has already implemented the program in a number of poor, underserved communities, including its pilot location in the South Bronx.

“We started out five and half, six years ago in the first program in the South Bronx, about 40,000 very poor Hispanic people…and we are turning their life around,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, president of Canyon Ranch Institute and former surgeon general of the United States.

As Dr. Carmona pointed out, the U.S. spends $2.8 trillion a year on healthcare, a figure expected to increase as healthcare costs rise. Initiatives like the institute’s life enhancement program are critical to help drive down healthcare spending by improving people’s overall health.

“If you get type 2 diabetes, it’s likely you’re going to get cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Carmona said. “It’s likely your kidneys will fail, your eyes will fail over a lifetime. The cost of that is astronomical.

“You explode that out over 310 million people in the United States, it’s drowning us. That’s why these programs are so important. The government can’t solve this problem for us. This problem has to be solved by us.”

According to Ms. Cabe, the program has already resulted in significant savings when it comes to healthcare spending.

“The Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program has increased quality of life at a savings of more than $3,750 per person lower than the average cost of producing those same health outcomes across a range of other possible interventions,” she said. “Those interventions include medication, surgery and hospitalization.”

The program is set to begin this fall and is offered at no cost to participants. BHS is investing $500,000 to cover the costs of the program.

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Posted by on July 5, 2013. Filed under Community News,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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