Becky Ellis: Community partner

Published in FSD Update

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by enhancing patient foodservice.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

At a Glance

  • 1.5 million patient meals served each year
  • $17 million budget
  • 217 FTEs
  • 7 retail outlets

Accomplishments

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by:

  • Fostering partnerships with a number of organizations, including two local colleges, the ACF and Health Care Without Harm
  • Promoting health and wellness on the retail side through the Choose Wisely program and a Choice Plus vending program
  • Enhancing patient foodservice through a new ordering system that allows patients to order meals closer to mealtimes
  • Overseeing the renovation of the 300-seat Mountain View Café at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the system’s largest facility

A central kitchen

Of all dining and nutrition services’ partnerships, perhaps the most surprising is the business deal Carilion has with FoodService Partners (FSP). FSP has operated Carilion’s central kitchen since 2002. Ellis explains that the kitchen was a goal of Carilion as it grew from several separate facilities into a full-fledged system.

“Twelve years ago, we started looking at having an off-site central kitchen, as part of a central laundry and materials management complex,” she says. “At the time, we did not have experience with central kitchen operation. [Consultant] Georgie Shockey came to us with the idea of using FSP.”

In addition to Carilion, FSP operates central production facilities for 22 hospitals in the Kaiser Permanente system in California and for the 15 hospitals that make up New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corp.

“It has worked out very well for us, particularly in terms of quality control,” Ellis says. “We have well exceeded the return on our investment by being better able to manage our costs and we get FSP’s expertise.”

Shockey explains that the kitchen was the first of about a half-dozen projects she and Ellis have worked on. The relationship came about as the result of a cold call Shockey made to Ellis.

“In 2001, I was attending an HFM conference at The Homestead [in Hot Springs, Va.], and after the conference I went to visit Carilion.” Shockey says she came away impressed with Ellis, and the professional bonds have grown.
“Becky has a very inquisitive nature,” she notes. “She is always probing for a different viewpoint, a different way of doing things. She’s very diligent, always looking at the flow of things before she pulls the trigger on a project.”