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Hospital Food So Fresh, Even the Healthy Come to Dine

Hospital Food So Fresh, Even the Healthy Come to Dine

By Yvonne De Brazil in Medicare/Senior News
Hospital Food So Fresh, Even the Healthy Come to Dine

When was the last time you heard that hospital food was good? Well, it is at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Virginia. Their meals are $4.50 per plate, and predictably, they don’t make a profit. This restaurant sounds so enticing that to hear it described, you’d think you were reading Fine Dining Magazine. But you’re not.

It’s a hip dinner spot where older Americans flock twice a week to enjoy an all organic meal, with a million-dollar view of the Virginia countryside, and musical accompaniment by a retired piano player from Nordstroms. The food is grown in the hospital’s community garden right on the grounds, even the salad dressing is made from scratch.

That’s for the restaurant’s customers;  the patients are treated even better. Each patient’s meal is cooked to order, and each order is taken in-person, not over the phone. Here’s why. The chef says his staff personally sees each patient to obtain the order because “you get more cues as how that patient is doing than you that you would miss over the phone.”The chef’s concern is actually a  reflection of the parent company that owns Fauquier Hospital —  Planetree. This company owns about a dozen U.S. hospitals, and they set a very high standard of patient care — they believe that if the patient eats better, they’ll feel better and leave the hospital sooner.

This is a new trend that is catching on in many hospitals around the county. So, although the restaurant itself does not make money, the hospital saves thousands because they are able to get the patient well enough that they don’t relapse and have to make a return visit to the hospital for the same illness.

It is not mentioned in the article, but as a result of the “Affordable Care Act” hospitals have a strong incentive to get patients well enough to go home so that they don’t have to re-admitted for the same illness. Their incentive — Medicare — hospitals are penalized for re-admissions for the same illness. Pretty clever solution. Everyone wins. The patients, the hospital, Medicare, and the local community.

I remember the morning Yvonne called. She was nice, and not pushy at all, she explained things in a clear and simple way.The first year of the policy I had some very large medical bills and I was delighted with the policy I chose. Since that time she has encouraged me to call her whenever I have a question. So when a problem arose with clinic billing, I called Yvonne. She helped me to see that I had been over-billed, and then she assisted me in getting the error fixed, and the bill was reduced by several hundred dollars.

Marge Betancourt