Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A 5K and a Commitment to Better Health – a Great Way to Begin Summer

I spent part of Father’s Day running at the 25th annual GBMC Father’s Day 5K. It was a great day and I was fortunate to have my wife Tracey, and my daughter, Caroline, running, too. Caroline was being polite and running with me but I encouraged her to go on ahead at her own pace. Tracey finished third in her age bracket. I was happy to finish without an injury.
Dr. Chessare with his wife Tracey (left), daughter Caroline (second from right)
 and WJZ-TV's Denise Koch (right), Honorary Chair and emcee of the event.

Robert Hlavac has been participating in the
Father's Day 5K since the very beginning.
This important event has been helping to raise much needed funds for GBMC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Over the years, funds raised through this event have helped purchase lifesaving technology and services for our NICU babies and their families. I thank everyone who ran or walked and participated in this great day, including one 25-year supporter of the event, Robert Hlavac, who has been participating in the Father’s Day 5K since its inception.

I also had the opportunity to meet with the kids from the West Towson Elementary School PlayFit program. As I talked about in the May 21st blog, GBMC partnered with the school to develop an after school fitness program called PlayFit, designed to help kids at risk for childhood obesity. The “Westy’s,” along with our GBMC volunteers, have done a fabulous job staying active while having fun. The culmination of this six-week fitness program was having the kids run in our Father’s Day 5K event or do the one mile walk.  These kids were so proud of what they had accomplished, as were we, and GBMC looks forward to continuing this beneficial fitness program with the Westy’s going forward. Great work, kids!
The "Westy's" from the West Towson Elementary school
 PlayFit program get ready to walk!

As we realized with our work with the kids from West Towson Elementary School, prevention of disease is vital to the future health of our community.  As a system of care, GBMC continues to take important steps toward enacting healthy change. We recently took another step toward this mission of preventative care by introducing a new Employee Wellness program.

The U.S. health care system is struggling to care for the ever-increasing number of people with chronic disease like obesity and diabetes. While we at GBMC are building a better coordinated system to care for chronic disease, we also need to work to prevent these diseases in the first place and what better place to start than with our own GBMC family members. This is why GBMC is adopting a healthcare insurance model that promotes wellness and emphasizes maintaining good health. Through this new wellness program, we are helping our staff focus on staying healthy by providing opportunities for employees to engage in various wellness activities while earning incentives for their efforts. This moves us another step closer to changing the mindset of, “go to the doctor when you’re sick,” to “keep yourself healthy so you don’t get sick.”

GBMC employees and staff who participate in the Platinum health plan will be able to take advantage of this important wellness program as well as savings on healthcare premiums by participating in a biometric screening process and registering with our wellness partner, Allegeant. Employees interested in the screening process should visit the InfoWeb for all of the details and upcoming deadlines for participating or call Allegeant at 410-605-0007.

Those employees who participate are making the effort to maintain their good health and minimize days of illness. This program is all part of GBMC’s commitment to better health.

Schools are out for the summer now and the longer, hotter days are a perfect time for all of us to get outdoors and stay active and healthy.


  1. In the spirit of promoting wellness, you might consider better coverage for alternative preventative services like chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture as a way to avoid more costly and invasive procedures. As GBMC does not currently employ any doctors that provide these services (at least not ones that show up on the Find a Doctor site), co-pays for the current limited coverage will be increasing with the new fiscal year, putting strain on employees that sometimes have to choose between taking care of their health and paying bills. I find it laughable that in the new benefits packet, there was a category for outpatient chiropractic services under level 1 coverage, when you know very well that such a thing does not exist, at least according to your own Find a Doctor site.

    1. Thanks, anonymous. We will continue to change our program as new evidence is generated about the efficacy of different therapies. Currently, massage is not an offered benefit. I am not aware that it is covered by other employer sponsored insurance packages, either.

      You are correct that we don't employ any acupuncturists. However, as you know, the level 1 tier includes anyone on the GBMC medical staff where there are two. Unfortunately, neither accepts health insurance for payment.

      Chiropractic is not a discipline that the medical staff includes so you are correct that chiropractic services cannot be in tier 1 by definition. We apologize for this error and we will change our materials. This was not done purposefully as your comment suggests. We made an error.

      I am proud that we have significantly lowered out of pocket healthcare costs for our employees over the last two years. I am sorry that we can't lower these costs for the services you have called out but we do cover acupuncture and chiropractic.

      John Chessare MD

  2. TEAM NICU and the NICU staff at GBMC would like to thank you Dr. Chessare for your continued support of the Father's Day Race. It was nice to bring the race to GBMC for the 25th Anniversary. We would also like to thank the volunteers for their efforts and the GBMC Foundation for organizing this great event. Families of NICU babies came out in record numbers and were thrilled to see their doctors and nurses on the course. The top fundraisers were NICU families who are so grateful to GBMC. We look forward to continuing the race each year. Go TEAM NICU!

    1. Thanks very much, Maria. And thanks for all that you and TEAM NICU do for the babies and their families.


Thank you for taking time to read "A Healthy Dialogue" and for commenting on the blog. Comments are an important part of the public dialogue and help facilitate conversation. All comments are reviewed before posting to ensure posts are not off-topic, do not violate patient confidentiality, and are civil. Differing opinions are welcome as long as the tone is respectful.