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Wellness Service Lines Boost Hospital Revenue

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 18, 2010
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Besides the hospital, the initiative includes two local Iowa counties, Grinnell College, and the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

With wellness programs, people in the community are realizing that “when they do get sick, we are the place to go,” Linden says. “We believe a future of good accountability is tied into very strong wellness programs.

“One of my goals was to improve the whole wellness, not only of the hospital but the community,” Linden says. “If we are going to be relevant in our community, how can we be as relevant as possible? The board directs wellness and fitness as a mission; we recognize it as a means of moving forward.”

Success Key No. 4: Expand the menu
The wellness program at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital includes great food and a feeling of home, according to Gerard van Grinsven, president and CEO. The former Ritz-Carlton hotel executive says he has sought to introduce patients, families, and the community to nutritious food menus that contribute to healthy living.

The hospital’s new on-site healthy foods restaurant means a “new revenue stream for the hospital,” Grinsven says, noting that patients and visitors alike are guests of the restaurant. Besides the additional income generated from the restaurant, “with the focus on healthy eating and food, patients are given more tools to stay healthy,” he says.

The CEO adds: “Healthcare has become too much ‘sick care,’ and we have to move it back to healthcare. We wanted to make this hospital more like a community center for well-being, not just create clinical excellence and patient care, but also be health coaches for the community. We see this as a community education to stay healthy and form relationships with us, and if they do get sick, they choose us rather than anybody else.”

The $360 million hospital is the seventh hospital in the Henry Ford regional hospital network. Aside from its restaurant, the hospital has a 90-seat demonstration kitchen that offers healthy cooking classes for community members, as well as for patients with specific illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer. The hospital is using produce from Michigan organic farms and plans are under way for an on-site greenhouse. The menu options include gourmet vegetarian dishes.

“We have people coming to our luncheons, in which they have no clinic visits and no family staying in the hospital,” Grinsven says. “We have had people who asked to have their weddings there. Imagine, a wedding at a hospital?”

Indeed, the new healthy food culture has opened doors and generated income, whether it’s from weddings, or especially from the hospital’s restaurant, Grinsven says. He declines to release income generated, but notes that the restaurant serves about 200 people a day who are paying customers and have no other business in the hospital.

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