By Jo Miller, MPH, RDN, Vice President of Nutrition at Meals for All, Inc. Practice makes perfect -- as the old adage says. Thus, when CMS updated the Emergency Preparedness Rule for Medicare and Medicaid participating providers in 2016, training…
Have you considered how much garbage is produced by a hospital or healthcare food service establishment on a daily basis? Health systems in the U.S. have been estimated to produce nearly 12,000 tons of waste each day. Packaging waste can account for as much as 30 percent of a healthcare facility’s foodservice waste.
Waste management is an area that is receiving a lot of attention as healthcare facilities are seeking new strategies to become more sustainable. Many facilities are working toward improvements to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Healthcare facilities can save in the category of supplies and packaging waste; disposable items that are thrown away, such as drink cups, grab-and-go containers and plastic ware.
Healthcare facilities serving a vulnerable population must be able to sustain themselves for several days independent of outside resources, regardless of whether the situation is an unanticipated emergency or a planned shutdown. Recently, a healthcare facility in CA was cited for an immediate jeopardy during a survey for potential for food borne illness related to mold in a walk-in refrigerator.
What meal service options are available when you can’t serve any of the food stored in the refrigerator? The regular written menus cannot be followed with no available perishable food to use. Replacement food must be brought in and an acceptable alternate cold storage solution must be identified and implemented. From the food service perspective, there can be no disruption and kitchen staff must be able to continue just as they would during an emergency.
So, what are your options for meal service, and how long will they take to implement?