Skip Navigation
Phone: 800-275-6401

Geisinger employee becomes a role model for 'Great American Smokeout'

CONTACT:  Mike Ferlazzo: 570-214-7410
                                                515-450-2908 (c)
Nov. 14, 2012

DANVILLE, Pa. – The American Cancer Society encourages smokers to use Thursday’s “Great American Smokeout” to make a plan to quit smoking, or at least plan to quit that day. Geisinger Health System compliance analyst Kelly Baker did just that on Jan. 23 with a little nudge from her employer, and she’s now gone nearly 10 months without a cigarette and feeling better than she could have imagined.

Baker had tried to quit a few times before, but she admits that she never really had the ambition or will power to stick to it. But this time, she got some much needed motivation from Geisinger’s MyHealth Rewards, an incentive program for Geisinger employees that rewards those who follow a pathway to better health with reduced insurance costs.

“I decided that 2012 was the year to get healthy and MyHealth Rewards gave me a little bit more drive to stick to it,” Baker said. “I spoke to my primary care physician about Chantix (a prescription medication helps adults quit smoking). I hadn’t made up my mind about quitting, but I wanted to see what Chantix could offer.”

Baker’s Geisinger Medical Center doctor wrote her the prescription for Chantix and told her if she made up her mind, she should get it filled. As she left Knapper Clinic that day, Baker says she thought, “Why wait?” So she promptly dropped the prescription off to be filled.

“I was afraid of quitting, of failing, of it being hard and always craving smoking,” she said. “I was wrong, it got easier with every day and now I almost forget that I ever smoked.”

And because she’s quit, she’s now exercising regularly and has more energy than ever. 

“If I would have known that I would feel like this, I would have quit a long time ago,” Baker said.

Beginning on Feb. 1, Geisinger enacted a tobacco-free policy for new employees. The policy requires new applicants to Geisinger to undergo a tobacco screening as part of the hiring process. Current employees were not required to comply. Additionally, all Geisinger campuses and locations are designated as smoke-free areas.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As the nation’s largest rural health services organization, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 17,000 employees, including a 900-member multi-specialty group practice, six hospital campuses, two research centers and a 290,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $5.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit  Geisinger. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and  Facebook.

# # # #