CLARION – Last Monday, the Butler Health System Clarion Hospital received bronze level recognition for achieving food, beverage and procurement standards across the hospital’s food management system.
“The BHS Food Institute is recognized by the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals (GFHH) initiative in their annual Success for Innovation report,” read a press release. on October 11 by Clarion Hospital. on the price. “The Bronze Recognition Level represents achievement in the implementation of two of the five GFHH standards – the food and beverage served at patient meals and the cafeteria. “
According to the statement, in October, GFHH entered the fourth year of a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand the impact of GFHH. The program includes 37 hospitals in Pennsylvania, dedicated to providing nutritious, locally sourced food from vending machines, patient meals and cafeterias. It also covers catering and food shopping.
“Butler Health System is the first healthcare system in western Pennsylvania to participate in the GFHH program which helps hospitals provide healthy food options and nutrition education to their employees, visitors and patients,” the statement read. almost one year of hospital participation in the program. . “In turn, this leads to healthier lifestyle choices that help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.”
Staff pointed out that while there is no cost to the hospital to participate in the program, they have faced interesting changes and unexpected challenges.
Dave Wasilowski, director of food service at Clarion Hospital, said the biggest challenge early on was looking at what was being purchased.
“I bought lower sodium products, healthier products, lots of baked chips instead of the regular chips,” he said, noting that a big challenge is finding these products. a reasonable price.
“I used to use 80/20 ground beef, but now I bought a 90/10, so [it’s] much leaner, [and] all of my deli meats are all considered low sodium, ”he said. “I always offer bacon, but I also have turkey bacon and turkey sausage.”
Wasilowski said there is a concerted effort to reduce sodium levels.
“With our soups today, I reduced sodium levels from 900 to 140,” he said. “I leave the choice to people. If you want to eat healthy, it’s here and it’s good. It’s up to you if you want to take this salt shaker.
He also pointed out that another major challenge has been dealing with the various shortages created by the pandemic.
“The pandemic has really cut our volumes in the cafeteria [and] this has greatly reduced our staff volume, by over 50 percent, ”he said, further noting that the biggest challenge is the shortage of the supply chain.
“The change in supply has really started to take its toll on us,” he said. “We don’t know what we are or are not going to get when we place our orders every day. “
Wasilowski went on to explain that there are also challenges in buying locally from farmers in the area. These challenges include procurement and delivery.
“We [also] must ensure that local suppliers transport the correct amount of [liability] insurance in case something happens, ”he said. “It’s just a responsibility to cover the best interests of the hospital.”
Healthy food healthcare specialist Shelley Chamberlain added that a major change concerns the position of things in the cafeteria in relation to consumers.
“We look at what you buy, how you position yourself, how you promote and some pricing to get the customer to buy the healthiest items,” she said. “For example, the waters are at eye level, then there are drinks with no added sugar, then you go down until you get to regular sodas.”
Wasilowski said what he loves about the GFHH program is that it has steered the Clarion Hospital towards healthier eating habits.
“It doesn’t scare the public to think that healthy food doesn’t taste good,” he said, noting that Chamberlain and the GFHH program have provided the hospital with useful tools to facilitate change.
“It’s just about changing the perception [of healthy eating]”added Chamberlain.