Danville, PA - Hospital Won't Hire Smokers; New Yorkers Outraged
Danville, PA - A major Pennsylvania health system will begin testing new hires for nicotine starting in February.
Danville-based Geisinger Health Systems says it will begin testing for use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches and gum as part of routine drug screening.
At least two other hospital systems in the state — Susquehanna Health Systems in Williamsport and St. Luke’s in the Lehigh Valle — have already implemented similar policies.
Amy Brayford, Geisinger’s head of human resources, says the goal is to improve the health of employees and provide a healthier environment for patients. Officials say the policy will apply only to incoming employees, not current personnel.
Anyone who fails their nicotine test can kick the habit and reapply in six months.
“It’s discriminatory,” fumed Margaret Hatcher, 58, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. “As long as people are qualified, they should be given an opportunity.”
“That’s crazy, that’s not fair,” moaned Mindy Johnson, an administrative assistant at a research hospital.
“If the best candidate to take care of me is a smoker, I’d much rather them take care of me than an inferior candidate who isn’t a smoker.”
Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents in central and northeastern Pennsylvania and has nearly 15,000 employees.
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