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FRIDAY, FEB. 11, 2011, 1:03 P.M.

Tacoma hospital group won’t hire people who smoke

SEATTLE — Starting next month, a group of five hospitals in the south Puget Sound area will no longer hire smokers. The Franciscan Health System says it will screen applicants for nicotine.

Chief operating officer Cliff Robertson says it’s going to "walk the talk" about creating healthier communities.  

KOMO reports Franciscan is the first member of the Washington State Hospital Association to require job applicants to be nicotine-free. The Tacoma-based group has 8,100 employees in three counties.  

Franciscan hospitals include St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw and St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor.   

Franciscan is part of Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the country. 

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.