The Cayuga Wellness Center on the Cayuga Inlet

The Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, an annex of the Cayuga Medical Center, is housed in the same building with Rasa Spa, the Island Health and Fitness Center, and Andrew Getzin’s sports medicine clinic. The medical center owns 75 percent of the fitness center, which in turn owns 50 percent of Rasa Spa. This arrangement has been in place for a decade, but in October of last year the medical center and its partners decided to brand everything under one name: the Cayuga Wellness Center.

“Up until last fall we had all done our own advertising,” said John Turner, the vice president of public relations for the medical center. “We just saw a lot of opportunities. For example, a member of Island Health may need physical therapy or an athlete in training may need a visit to the sports medicine clinic. We used be like a mall, a lot of separate stores under one roof. Now we are all one team.”

Kristin Verrill is the Director of Health and Human Performance at the Center for Healthy Living. She said that the collaborations had begun to align well before the actual renaming. But going forward collaborations will be more formally planned.

“Every year in October we will get together our group leaders and list each department’s goals,” said Verrill. “Then we will craft the [wellness] center goals, and then we’ll go back and forth.” This kind of integrated planning is a new development.

“If we hear about a service that is not aligned to our mission,” said Verrill, “we can consider it, and then perhaps realign our strategic goals.” Ideas for new services often come from feedback provided by the center’s users.

Sometimes ideas for new services come from the staff. The Cayuga Coaching program was a staff suggestion that was “kicked up to management,” Verrill said. The center had only been helping injured athletes recover, but the coaching program is proactive; it helps athletes with strength building and conditioning. 

In addition, staff were seeing patients who were working toward recovery and realized that these people needed something to aim for. “They need goals,” said Verrill, “like a 5K run.”

Ideas for innovations come from both directions—from the top down and from the bottom up. As groups matured, said Verrill, they began to take a wider view of what they were doing. “A physical therapist would ask a patient, ‘Now what?’ and introduce them to a trainer.” With creation of the Wellness Center and its integrated planning, the answer to questions like that  will become less informal.

Patients can now be presented with several options at once, said Verrill, while before they were presented one at a time.

“John Turner noticed that our operational collaborations were coming together,” said Verrill, “and he decided that the public needed to understand what was going on here.

The Cayuga Wellness Center name was introduced in January and new services will continue to roll out going forward. The name signifies the medical center’s growing emphasis on prevention. §


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