Washington Hospital latest to contract out its food service
By Kris B. Mamula
Date: Friday, March 16, 2012, 6:00am EDT
Washington Hospital is the latest medical center to switch or turn to a food service contractor to improve the patient experience while paring overall costs.
Cura Hospitality was hired Feb. 1 to provide dietary services at the hospital, which became the fourth health system in the region to contract with the Homestead-based company. Cura, a division of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, won out over Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare Food Services, which contracted with Washington for the past eight to 10 years.
“Cura really stood out in price, service and quality,” said Washington President and CEO Gary Weinstein. “We’ll see significant savings.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company also provides food services atIndiana Regional Medical Center, St. Clair Hospital and Heritage Valley Health System.
Although savings from contracted food services vary by institution, advocates say serving more appetizing and nutritious meals improves the patient’s overall experience, a hospital metric tracked by Medicare.
“We offer a regional, personal approach,” said Cura District Manager Janet Schuch. “It’s just a really good fit.”
The biggest difference in Cura’s approach is its constant attention to the patient, she said. Cura will use a personalized room service, which allows patients to make selections from a restaurant-style menu.
Dining assistants help patients choose from the menu, which includes daily specials. Homemade soups and mashed potatoes are standard for Cura.
“The people who do best in these environments are ones with restaurant experience,” Schuch said. “Our menu is built around making food fresh.”
In the first month under the new contract, the number of retail transactions has more than doubled at Washington, Schuch said.