WellSpot Benchmarks for Hospitals

Healthy Habits to Build a Healthy Community

Healthy Employees Improve Your Hospital’s Bottom Line

Because hospitals touch the lives of so many people across a broad cross-section of the local community, they are in a unique position to make a significant impact on improving healthy behaviors.

By implementing changes to improve the health of your employees through our WellSpot Designation program, hospitals are equipped to play a role in positively impacting the health of the community. We support you by providing the resources and tools you need to encourage healthy habits like physical activity, healthy eating, stress management and quitting tobacco. Not only do these activities improve the health of staff and patients, they also improve the health of the hospital through decreased costs, improved employee productivity and reduced absenteeism.

Hospitals that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest.

Level 3

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • Five additional benchmarks of choice

Level 2

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • Nine additional benchmarks of choice

Level 1

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier Hospital

Guidelines for Healthy Changes in Hospitals

Well-Ahead is here to help your hospital be a leader by becoming a WellSpot. When you implement these evidence-based benchmarks, you will improve the health of your staff and patients and move Louisiana’s health forward!

By implementing a Tobacco-Free Policy you can reduce exposure to smoke and the danger it presents to your employees, patients and visitors. 

A Tobacco-Free Policy prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on your hospital’s property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the facility.

Required Documentation:
Copy of policy.

By providing your employees with the tools they need to geaux tobacco-free, you are helping communities across the state take a major step forward towards a healthier Louisiana. 

Tobacco cessation is a preventive service, and federal guidance suggests the following coverage:

  • Four sessions of individual, group and phone counseling
  • 90 days of all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications
  • Two quit attempts per year
  • No prior authorization for treatments
  • No cost-sharing

Research has shown that most smokers benefit from using counseling, medications and social support to help quit.1 To meet this benchmark, you are required, at a minimum, to provide coverage for counseling and smoking cessation medications.

Required Documentation:
Copy of health plan benefits or health plan promotional materials.

By promoting free cessation services to your employees, you are doing your part to help fight the leading cause of preventable death and the source of many chronic diseases and conditions that cause long-term suffering.2,3

You can promote your in-house cessation programs (if applicable) or the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline is a free cessation resource that links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the LA Tobacco Quitline or other service is promoted to employees and students.

Federal law requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with time and a space to express milk. Implementing this benchmark enables you to comply with this law. It can also lead to savings through the retention of your valued employees, reduction of sick time taken and lower healthcare and insurance costs.4

Even better, providing lactation accommodations in the workplace doesn’t require many resources to implement. Employees simply need reasonable break times, a private space and employer support.

Required Documentation:
Well-Ahead will verify this benchmark is met with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.

A worksite wellness program is an employee-centered approach to improving health outcomes, healthy behaviors, productivity and morale in the workplace. Offering wellness activities can provide your employees with the opportunity to improve their health, reduce their risk of chronic disease and lower their healthcare costs. For employers, that can mean increased productivity and profit. Worksite wellness programs can also be implemented at little to no cost while creating an environment that helps move Louisiana’s health forward.  

Beginning Implementation starts with management support, designating a program coordinator and completing an employee assessment.

Required Documentation:
Letter from management indicating support for a worksite wellness program. Name of the designated staff person to lead the program. Brief description of worksite/employee assessments planned, in progress, or completed.

Once the employee assessment phase has been completed, you can then move onto the second worksite wellness benchmark for WellSpot designation – Partial Implementation. At this stage, the assessment results will be used to develop a work plan of activities or programs to encourage healthy behaviors surrounding physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and mental health.

Required Documentation:
Copy of wellness work plan or calendar of events specific to the organization, reflective of assessment results and including activity descriptions related to physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and mental health.

Once you have developed a worksite wellness plan, continue to encourage and motivate your employees as you implement the plan. To meet the full implementation benchmark, perform an assessment after one year to evaluate the impact of the program.

Required Documentation:
Description of how annual program evaluation was conducted or copy of annual evaluation results.

5-2-1-0 is a simple message that encourages healthy eating and physical activity. It recommends the following for each day: 

5 or more fruits and vegetables

2 hours or less on recreational screen time

1 hour or more of physical activity

0 soda and sweetened drinks (more water and low-fat milk).

This WellSpot benchmark is a way for you to help your employees make positive changes to improve their health and decrease their risk for chronic diseases including diabetes and obesity. 

There are a number of ways you can promote the 5-2-1-0 message:

  • Share the message at a staff meeting.
  • Share the message in a newsletter or email update.
  • Add the message to employee check stub envelopes.
  • Add the message to your cafeteria menus.
  • Promote the message on social media platforms.
  • Display a 5-2-1-0 poster in the employee break room.
Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of at least two ways in which the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Healthy Workplaces message is promoted to patients and staff.

Healthy snacking is essential to promoting wellness and providing the best nutrients for health, energy and productivity. With more than 36% of Louisiana residents considered obese, accessibility to nutritious snack options that are low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium can change the way your employees, patients and visitors snack and help improve their overall health.5

You can make the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to selecting snacks and beverages for vending machines at your facility. 

In order to meet this benchmark, at least 50% of snacks and beverages you provide to employees (including each vending machine) must meet one of the approved healthy vending guidelines provided at these links:

Required Documentation:
Inventory of vending machine or snack options from vendor (with nutritional information if available) or picture of vending machine (if nutritional information is posted on the machine).

By promoting self-assessment tools, you can help your employees better understand their health and reduce the risk diabetes and heart disease. As a result, your employees will miss less work due to illness or hospitalization and have lower healthcare costs. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 108 million Americans have high blood pressure and more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.6,7 Encourage your employees to take the self-assessments to have a better understanding of their health.

Please note that these evidence-based self-assessments have been developed by national partners and should not be used in place of a visit to a healthcare provider.

Self-Assessment Tools for Heart Health:

My Life Check by American Heart Association

Heart Age Predictor Using BMI by CDC

Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments 

Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:

Prediabetes Risk Test by CDC, AMA, ADA and Ad Council

Sample Communication to Promote Prediabetes Self-Assessment

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.

By becoming Gift-designated, your hospital is taking steps to improve the quality of its maternity services and enhancing patient-centered care. The program provides the resources and framework necessary to help birthing facilities like yours improve breastfeeding outcomes by incrementally adopting internationally recognized evidence-based practices.

The Gift designation is based on implementing the program’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a group of 10 internationally recognized, evidence-based maternity care practices.

Required Documentation:
Well-Ahead will verify this designation has been achieved with the Bureau of Family Health.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). One of the basic tenets of the initiative’s philosophy and approach is that every mother should be informed about the importance of breastfeeding and respected to make her own decision.

By implementing this benchmark, your hospital is making a commitment to develop a comprehensive plan for implementing and sustaining the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to accomplish the six primary tasks as listed in the Development Phase of the Baby-Friendly Designation.

Required Documentation:
Email confirmation from Baby Friendly USA for Phase D2 or Well-Ahead will verify completion with the Bureau of Family Health.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). One of the basic tenets of the initiative’s philosophy and approach is that every mother should be informed about the importance of breastfeeding and respected to make her own decision.

By implementing this benchmark, your hospital is providing an ideal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. As a result, mothers will gain the information, skills and confidence they need to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

There are four phases for achieving Baby-Friendly Designation—Discovery, Development, Dissemination and Designation.

Required Documentation:
Well-Ahead will verify this designation has been achieved with the Bureau of Family Health.

Making healthy changes in the spaces and places where we live and work every day is key to reducing obesity in Louisiana. Your hospital can play a significant role by implementing this benchmark and making sustainable capital investments in obesity prevention initiatives in your community. Whether you sponsor physical activity opportunities or simply organize weight loss programs or nutrition classes, you’re leading the way by investing in sustainable initiatives that can prevent or even reduce obesity rates in our state.

Required Documentation:
Written description of programs or events dedicated to community obesity prevention.

At Well-Ahead, we work with hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for their patients and staffs. Implementing this benchmark is one way you can join with us and help improve the health of Louisiana residents, one bite at a time.  

In order to meet this benchmark, the main cafeteria in your hospital must offer and promote at least one healthy menu option during each meal served daily. 

Here are a few tips to ensure healthy menu options that meet recommended guidelines:

  • Serve healthy menu items like lean meat/fish, vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruit
  • Prepare dishes sparingly with healthy oils that are low in saturated and Trans fats
  • Use low or no fat dressings on salads and for dips and marinades
  • Use low fat or fat-free versions of milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Limit butter, margarine, shortening, lard, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings, heavy creams and foods made with these products
  • Limit added sugar in foods and beverages
  • Use and prepare foods that contain little or no salt
  • Beverages or specialty drinks should include low or no-fat dairy, less than 5g of added sugars and no white refined carbs and Trans fats

Here are some ideas for how to promote healthy menu options:

  • Offer healthy food items as the daily special
  • Make healthy food options more visible by placing items first, at eye level or at the register
  • Offer a "grab and go" healthy option
  • Indicate healthy options by using logos, stickers or signs
  • Color code serving utensils and/or food containers to indicate healthy options
  • Make a healthier side the default option served with entrées
  • Display nutrition information for healthy options
Required Documentation:
Copy of menu showing healthy options available at each meal time, along with a description as to how each menu item meets approved nutrition guidelines.

Informative educational materials provided at or prior to discharge can be vital in helping at-risk patients with diabetes live healthier lives. By implementing this benchmark, your hospital is providing these patients with valuable tools to better manage their blood sugar levels and avoid future health complications. This includes eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as getting enough physical activity and taking medications appropriately.

At discharge, at-risk patients may receive a diabetic diet consult by a RD or CDE, while being provided with diabetes management education including, but not limited to the following topic areas:

  • Carbohydrate counting and meal planning
  • Diabetes self-management tips and guidelines
  • Physical activity benefits and recommendations
  • Stress management
  • Referrals/resources for support

If your area has an ADA recognized or AADE accredited DSMES program, referring an individual newly diagnosed with diabetes is the recommendation.

Required Documentation:
Copies of education materials.

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) programs can help your patients living with diabetes adopt healthy behaviors, better manage their symptoms and prevent further progression. The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) can help patients adopt healthy behaviors to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle change programs incorporate self-care principles and provide a group setting to give patients the emotional support needed to make lasting lifestyle changes.

To implement this benchmark, your hospital will need to collaborate with a DSMES or NDPP lifestyle training program. Hospitals should encourage patients to seek care beyond their hospital stay by providing referrals to DSMES and NDPP programs in the community.

Required Documentation:
Name and written description of in-house curriculum or name and address of organization where hospital refers patients.

You can register to become a WellSpot. Take the assessment to begin.


Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Tobacco Use and Dependence Guideline Panel. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63952/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a3.htm

3 American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report for Louisiana. Retrieved from: http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/louisiana/highlights.html

4 The Business Case For Breastfeeding. Published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/bcfb_business-case-for-breastfeeding-for-business-managers.pdf

5 Adult Obesity Rates, State of Childhood Obesity, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/adult-obesity/

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facts About Hypertension in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes Quick Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html