NEW MADRID - Cheryl White no longer wants SEMO Health Network to be the first place you think of when you are feeling ill. She wants it to be the first thing you think of when you are feeling healthy, too.
With the recent expansion in New Madrid made by SEMO Health Network, the management team began fielding ideas of what more they would like and about their philosophy on healthcare. White explained, "we wondered what more we could do for our patients to encourage better lifestyle habits."
Ticking off many of the problems the staff sees on a regular basis such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, White said they began to develop the idea for a fitness center. Now, that vision is becoming a reality as the foundation is in place.
The 7,000-foot addition will be climate control and have a rubberized flooring. There will be a walking track, exercise equipment and weights. The design even leaves room for the addition of an indoor pool at sometime in the future.
"This will be available to all our patients, free of charge, to participate in fitness activities year round." she said. "They can walk on the track or participate in the programs, like Pilates or weight lifting, we will offer."
The fitness center's construction is being funded through the SEMO Health Network.
"I think in the past we have always been seen as some sort of federally funded free clinic, which is not true. Yes, we receive some federal funds for those patients who are uninsured or underinsured but we also serve those who are insured or pay for their services. A project such as the fitness center is from revenue generated by insurance patients and charges," White said.
Several medical facilities have expressed interest in establishing a partnership to promote the fitness center and St. Francis Medical Center has even already donated equipment for use when the center opens.
The fitness center is scheduled for completion in September.
And, White noted, it meets their change in philosophy: "We are not just about treating diseases but teaching how to manage and how to live a healthier lifestyle."