MORGANTOWN, NC – North Carolina Christian Medical Center (NCCMC) in northwestern NC proudly announces landmark cost-cutting steps projected to save millions of dollars and generate millions more. This week, NCCMC CEO Laurel Lamprey announced major permanent restructuring of the hospital services and staff.
Beginning May 1, 2015, NCCMC will close its food service department and restrict all food and nourishments from the premises. These revenue-generating steps, say Lamprey, are designed “to impact patient care and employee satisfaction due to years of patient and staff complaints, and plummeting Press Ganey scores regarding cafeteria food and dietary dissatisfaction.”
Key hospital administrators along with the current Board of Trustees predict improvements on multiple levels. According to hospital CFO Sharon Houseman, the hospital spends in excess of $1.2 million annually on food service for patients, staff, and guests and only recovers approximately $200,000 each year. Cutting the food service department will net an additional one million dollars annually which can be spent on administrators’ cost of living increases and reward bonuses. And, because NCCMC will be a food-free facility, it is estimated that key personnel will only work half days thereby reducing office space and non-productive meetings. Unused offices will be renovated into more bed space for customers and a state-of-the-art all inclusive spa for hospital administrators.
From a healthcare and patient perspective, NCCMC predicts quicker patient turn-around times lending to more admissions with speedier discharges. “After all” quotes Lamprey, “those people are gonna get hungry and will be begging for a speedy discharge.” Many hospitals are criticized for discharging patients before they are actually ready.
“There are numerous advantages for a food-free facility besides therapeutic fasting,” states Lamprey. They are:
- No need for confusing NPO orders any more.
- No need for gastric suction procedures.
- No need for special diabetic or confusing cardiac heart healthy diet regimes.
- No more patient complaints about food quality.
- No more risky feeding of stroke patients.
- No more worrying about food allergies and intolerances.
- No more family members staying for long periods of time and directing patient care.
- No more nurses eating at their workstations and violating Joint Commission regulations.
- No more nursing license revocation for delivering the wrong sandwich selection to patients.
- No more expensive and dangerous hypoglycemic medicine needed.
- No more costly laundry expenses due to feces soiled linen.
From an employee perspective, “This is good news,” says Lamprey. “We expect staff satisfaction scores to skyrocket.” Nurses, for instance are required by law to have a break during a twelve-hour shift and now that they won’t be eating, they will be urged to quietly meditate and pray for the duration of their twenty-minute lunch. Meditation is known to calm the spirit and soothe the soul. And, other staff members in environmental services, maintenance, police, and clerical will only be required to work half days freeing them up to enjoy an expanded personal life.
Since staff will only be working part time, millions will be saved on costly benefits and health insurance. Those employees who continue to receive health insurance will see immediate benefits beginning with personal weight loss. “Why, the dismissal of our 47 overpaid food service workers alone will save the hospital a combined $76,000 annually,” exclaims Lamprey. Next to administrators’ salaries, employee wages drive the exorbitant and unsustainable costs of healthcare. Lamprey alluded to additional liberating and cost-saving cuts in other departments in the near future.
Lamprey sums up this bold and innovative step with, “There’s just no place for food in the business of healthcare. If people want food, they can always go home or go to a restaurant. We are in the business of business, not in the restaurant business.”