Obamacare encourages improved healthcare foodservice

Foodservice shown to improve patient satisfaction scores, which increases federal funds.

June 24—When patients don't mind staying in the hospital for an extra day, citing the great food, you know the stereotype of healthcare foodserivce has been changed.

Administrators at hospitals such as Rex Healthcare, in Chapel Hill, N.C., say the focus on food has taken on extra importance since Medicare last year began paying them based partly on their patient-satisfaction scores, a change that is part of the new federal health care law.

While Medicare's surveys do not ask about food, Rex administrators believe their culinary efforts help explain their better-than-average overall satisfaction rates. About 84% of Rex patients surveyed said they would recommend the hospital, compared with 71% nationally. "I have no doubt that raising the culinary bar improves our customer-satisfaction scores," said Chad Lefteris, vice president of operations at Rex.

Food-management companies that specialize in health care facilities say they are getting more requests from hospitals looking to boost their satisfaction scores for Medicare.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
usc asian remodel

With a prime location in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s foodie capitols, the University of Southern California has plenty of dining competition. So when Kris Klinger, assistant vice president of retail operations, discovered that students were heading off campus for sushi and noodle bowls, he knew it was time to take action. The construction of Fertitta Hall, part of the university’s Marshall School of Business, provided the opportunity.

Klinger and Gary Marschall, associate director of USC auxiliary services in hospitality, shared photos of both the new Fertitta Cafe and a...

FSD Resources