Earlier this year, the president and CEO of Tucson's largest hospital issued employees a challenge to cut their health-care costs by a half million dollars.
If Tucson Medical Center's 3,400 employees met the goal, Judy Rich promised to build them a gym.
She gave them some suggestions, like regularly going to a primary care doctor for preventive care. She also issued tips on when to go to urgent care versus the emergency room.
Hospital officials reminded their employees about their on-site Weight Watchers, their diabetes partnership with the local YMCA.
Employees have also been making increased use of walking paths around the hospital that were recently expanded and improved, Rich said.
This month, Rich announced that employees had met the goal.
They'll be getting a gym built in the operating rooms that the hospital will be vacating to move into a new tower next year.
The TMC Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower is expected to open in April 2013 as part of a $134 million hospital improvement project that began in 2009.
Rich said officials hope to have the gym completed by the end of next summer. It will be open seven days per week, 24 hours per day and have showers and lockers.
She predicts the gym will result in further reductions in the hospital's employee health tab, which Rich said currently runs in the "double digit millions."
Chronic diseases make up a disproportionate amount of money that the hospital spends on employee health care, she said.
As another measure that Rich believes will result in more employee health-care cost reductions, the hospital on Aug. 6 will begin giving discounts for healthy food purchased in the cafeteria. Some examples of those healthy choices include green salads with grilled chicken, vegetarian tamale pie and baked chicken with roasted vegetables.
TMC is self-insured through United Healthcare.
And it has never before had an employee gym.
"We've created an employee committee to start planning the gym," Rich said. "There is a lot of energy around making it happen."
Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at 573-4134 or email@example.com