Catholic Health System Adopts Tobacco-Free Hiring Policy

June 21, 2011 ( - SSM Health Care is implementing two new policies designed to create a healthier overall workforce.

Effective July 1, 2011, SSM will implement a tobacco-free hiring policy at all SSM facilities in Missouri and mandatory flu vaccinations for all employees across the SSM Health Care system.  

According to a press release, the tobacco-free hiring policy only applies to the hiring of new employees and not to current employees. The policy also only applies to SSM facilities in Missouri, where the law permits SSM to take this action. SSM said it will encourage legislation in the other states where it operates (Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma) in order to adopt similar hiring policies there.  

Under the new policy, all individuals who apply for a position with SSM Health Care facilities in Missouri on or after July 1 will be asked on the application if they have been tobacco-free for six months. If they say no, the application process will not go forward.  

Under the second policy, flu vaccinations will be mandatory for all employees, volunteers and employed physicians across the entire SSM Health Care system – except for individuals who have medical or religious reasons for not taking the vaccination.  

SSM Health Care is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system with 5,400 physicians and 23,000 employees in four states.