Hospital to Provide More than 27,000Employees on Clinic Health Plan Access to Weight Management,
Fitness Centers and Smoking Cessation Programs at No Cost

Monday, June 30, 2008, Cleveland: As part of its commitment to health and wellness and disease prevention, Cleveland Clinic has announced several new enhancements to its employee wellness program, which will begin to take effect July 1.

The enhancements provide employees who participate in the Clinic’s Corporate Employee Health Plan (EHP) access to select Weight Watchers® services at no cost, free memberships to select fitness facilities, and free smoking cessation treatment and medication through the hospital’s smoking cessation program.

“Our employees are our greatest resources, and by improving their quality of life with these new programs, we’re able to have a positive impact on them and on our patients,” said Joe Patrnchak, Chief Human Resources Officer for Cleveland Clinic. “By removing the traditional barriers of cost and inconvenience, which can keep people from participating in healthy activities, we are encouraging our employees to embrace healthy living.”

Cleveland Clinic began offering employee-focused wellness programs when it established its Wellness Institute nearly two years ago. The effort has raised awareness for healthy lifestyle choices among employees and has resulted in the Clinic taking a leadership role in employee wellness.

"We are excited by this collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, a world-renowned healthcare institution and leader in health and wellness education," said David Kirchhoff, President & CEO of Weight Watchers International. "Together, we are working to empower their employees to lose weight and improve their overall health. It is encouraging to see such a commitment to employee well-being at an organization with their reputation, and we hope that it sets the bar for fellow employers."

At this time, the enhancements are available only to employees who are EHP members. Currently, there are more than 27,000 Clinic employees enrolled in the Clinic’s EHP. The new wellness efforts will launch in three phases:
  • Starting July 1, EHP employees can receive free treatment and medication by enrolling in Cleveland Clinic’s smoking cessation program. A certified smoking cessation specialist will work with them to develop a personalized treatment plan.

  • Beginning Aug. 1, Cleveland Clinic will offer free participation in a variety of non-surgical weight management services, including select Weight Watchers options. EHP employees can choose from Weight Watchers community meetings, At Work meetings or Weight Watchers Online subscription.

  • As of Nov. 1, Cleveland Clinic will offer free access to Cleveland Clinic fitness centers and Curves®, an international fitness franchise with weight loss facilities designed specifically for and focused on women. Cleveland Clinic fitness centers are currently available at the W.O. Walker Building on main campus, the Parker building in East Cleveland/Euclid, and at Fairview Hospital.
“This effort builds and expands upon Cleveland Clinic’s unwavering commitment to developing practices that educate and inspire patients and communities to embrace healthy living,” said Michael F. Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer for Cleveland Clinic.

As a top ranked healthcare institution, Cleveland Clinic has consistently sought to shift the national focus from providing “sick” care to promoting wellness. From designating its entire health system smoke free on July 4, 2005, to no longer hiring smokers as of Sept. 1, 2007 and banning trans-fats from its menus, Cleveland Clinic is dedicated to creating a healthier environment for its employees, patients and community.

Moving forward, the Clinic may expand its employee wellness program benefits to spouses and dependents of EHP employees as well as non-EHP employees. Future efforts will be based on the success of the pilot.

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Approximately 1,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2007, there were 3.5 million outpatient visits to Cleveland Clinic and 50,455 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 80 countries. Cleveland Clinic’s Web site address is
About Weight Watchers International, Inc.
Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds over 50,000 weekly meetings where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.

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