Meal options reduced at Detroit Medical Center to improve efficiency

Detroit Medical Center confirmed it downsized its patient menu as part of an efficiency plan.

Instead of offering multiple entree options for each meal, DMC now offers one choice to patients, says spokesperson John Truscott. The change, which was implemented at least several weeks ago, affects DMC's downtown Detroit hospitals — Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital and Heart Hospital.  

The menu reduction comes as DMC plans to cut up to 300 jobs amid cost reduction efforts by its parent company Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. However, Mr. Truscott contends the move is not related to the cost-cutting initiatives.

"It's part of a plan to be much more efficient [and] to help speed up the food service process," he says.

Mr. Truscott says other a la carte options are available at the patient's request if they do not like the food option or have other dietary needs. A DMC patient menu obtained by Crain's Detroit Business shows the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner selections but does not include other food options. The daily food selections are alternated. Therefore, patients don't have the same breakfast choice each morning, says Mr. Truscott.

But not everyone supports the patient menu change. Some patients and families have complained about the lack of entree options, while some physicians have expressed concerns patients may not eat if they don't like the selection, according to Crain's. The publication reported this is particularly the case at Children's Hospital.

Mr. Truscott says Children's Hospital will return to a full menu, but did not provide specific reasoning behind the decision.

"Kids just have different tastes. We've been working with parents and staff to come up with a menu that's more to the kids' liking and still has a healthy aspect to it," he says. The other three downtown Detroit hospitals will continue to have one meal choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

According to Crain's, DMC's dietary and food service workers have opposed the patient menu change, and have protested layoffs and management changes. The publication reported the workers' department is believed to be affected by the planned layoffs.


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