WellSpan Health announces tobacco-free hiring for new employees

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Effective Jan. 1, 2015, WellSpan Health will no longer hire new employees who use tobacco or nicotine products, the regional healthcare system announced today.


The new policy is part of WellSpan’s continuing efforts to foster lifelong wellness and healthy communities, according to Robert Batory, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for WellSpan Health.


“From 1991, when our hospitals banned smoking indoors, to 2006 when we made all of our campuses tobacco-free, and now moving to tobacco-free hiring, WellSpan has continued to build on its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy workplace,” Batory said. “This is yet another step in WellSpan’s journey to reduce the detrimental impacts of tobacco use in our community.”


Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States.


The 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment showed that more than one in five adults in York and Adams counties identified themselves as regular smokers, while 13 percent of adults in Lancaster County are regular smokers. That statistic does not include minors who use tobacco, nor adults who use smokeless or other forms of tobacco.


“Our goal is to promote tobacco-free living and to create a healthier and more pleasant environment for those who visit or receive care at a WellSpan facility,” Batory said.


Batory noted that this is not a new policy for WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, which became part of WellSpan Health in October 2013. WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital has had a tobacco-free hiring policy in place since July 2011.


“As WellSpan and Ephrata Community Hospital continue their integration efforts, the WellSpan Health Board of Directors viewed this as an opportunity to examine Ephrata’s tobacco-free hiring policy and extend the benefits of that policy to patients, employees and visitors throughout the rest of our health system,” Batory said.


Under the new policy, all applicants, who are offered a position with WellSpan, will be tested for tobacco and nicotine use as part of their post-offer, pre-placement health screening. Those who test positive for tobacco and nicotine use will not be hired. If an applicant tests positive, he or she may re-apply for a position after 12 months, provided the individual has ceased using tobacco or nicotine products.


If an individual tests positive for nicotine because of authorized tobacco cessation efforts, such as nicotine gum or a nicotine patch, it will not impact that applicant’s offer of employment, Batory said. This is in keeping with WellSpan’s tobacco cessation programs and counselors, which are aimed at helping individuals lead tobacco-free lives.


While WellSpan’s new policy takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, applicants who accepted an active offer of employment from WellSpan Health prior to Aug. 1, 2014 will be exempted.


Other health systems throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania with tobacco-free hiring policies include: University of Pennsylvania Health System, Lancaster General Health, Geisinger Health System, Susquehanna Health and St. Luke’s University Health Network.



  • Dave

    That's not only crossing the line, but pole vaulting over it. Nice way to limit what is, potentially, a good resource of good possible employees. So, nicotine products rule you out. So many things we "do" are unhealthy such as poor eating habits (perhaps skipping a meal because the ER is too busy), or working too many hours without a good "resting" sleep? (Intern Doc's etc.) or hey, what about stress? I can see the headline now: Worlds best brain surgeon not allowed to perform at York Hospital due to the fact he/she had a smoke on the drive in. I assume that rules applies to Doc's as well? Hey, we all know smoking isn't good for you but it sure isn't the only thing that falls into that category. What's next after the PC police decide they have tired of bashing smokers? Or, they accomplish the goal of making smoking too expensive so most all smokers quit? Where will the tax money from all the terrible smokers be replaced? We can make a reasonable assumption that our State Government will not learn to go without that cash. Probably ought to kinda skip over alcohol consumption on this one eh? Great thing to do when so many are un/under employed. No smoking on the grounds … ok, your call Well Span, you have every right. Hey, what about pot?

  • joe

    what a joke can we say discrimination??? so if you are gonna do it to some do it to all. drunk driving and alcohol cause more deaths but they can still get a job there even the ones who may show up drunk.. how about the med addicts??????? or wait while you are at it you shouldn't hire anyone who has sex more than once a month. sounds like some clown has a personal vendetta and too much power. kinda reminds me of someone……. (cough cough hitler cough)……… sorry i was smoking.

  • Melissa

    So wrong and crossing a line big time! Whether or not someone smokes has no bearing on how well someone can do a job! So your going to give up a potentially great employee just because they smoke?? What next people aren't going to be hired because they don't eat healthy???

  • john d.

    Yep next you will have to run on a treadmill for 15 min or another exercise device before your even allowed into the building. I wonder if they transfer the savings on the insurance premiums to the workers they save? Doubt it.

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