HCFAA’s Annual Seminar Focuses on Budget Concerns

May 4-Foodservice directors heard ways to cut costs and create new revenue streams at the annual educational symposium for the New York Health Care Food Administrators' Association (HCFAA).

FoodService Director - HCFAA -cut costs - Jill WeinsteinJill Weinstein, director of food and nutrition at the Regeis Care Center in the Bronx, N.Y., said long-term care facilities can make extra revenue by getting federal reimbursements for enteral nutrition. Three years ago Weinstein started a business, separate from the hospital, that allows her to be a supplier of durable medical equipment, including tube feeding equipment, canes, wheelchairs and hospital beds. Through this separate business, Weinstein is able to bill Medicare for reimbursements on these products. Weinstein said that although this requires a lot of additional work, the business is profitable.

Master Chef Marc Bauer with the French Culinary Institute in New York City said the best ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality are buying seasonal products, making soup from leftovers and excess items and using exotic ingredients sparingly.

Tom Cooley, director of hospitality and nutrition services at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, explained the new Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and its effect on foodservice departments. The survey is an attempt to provide a centralized resource through which consumers can rank hospitals. The survey hopes to eliminate manipulation of data, which can be common on other surveys, such as Press Ganey. With the HCAHPS survey, hospitals will no longer be able to coach patients on how to answer survey questions.

Unlike other patient satisfaction surveys, the HCAHPS survey does not ask about food. Instead, Cooley said the most important survey question for foodservice departments would be, "What is the likelihood that you would recommend this hospital to a friend or loved one?" Cooley says the data from this question will most likely correspond to hospital administrators' views on foodservice.

While the HCAHPS survey is voluntary, hospitals that do not collect data from at least 300 patients will lose 2% of their annual CMS payment update. For more information, visit hcahpsonline.org.

The seminar opened with a keynote address by Jim Snack, a speaker with the Humor Project Inc. Snack told the attendees to deal with work stress by finding humor in everyday places, such as newspapers and signs, and to build a support system at work.