Tag Archives: Nutrition

Getting the Most from Your Foodservice Agreements

Peter CayanBy Peter Cayan, MA, RD, CDN, LDN – Vice President, Supply Chain and Nutrition Consulting, Intalere

Purchased services make up roughly 40 percent of the average health system’s supply chain costs. However, when it comes time to managing contractors, including foodservice, many healthcare facilities fall into the habit of allowing their agreement to roll over year after year without any type of competitive bid or meaningful review that could identify areas for improvement.

In order to optimize your contracted foodservice management agreement, it is probably a worthwhile initiative to undertake a thorough review of your current agreement. To ensure your needs and expectations are fully met, you should be taking into account factors such as contractor costs compared to national benchmarks, a legal review of the terms and conditions of the agreement, and goals and objectives aligned with the strategic direction of your organization.

As part of the nutrition contract audit and analysis, at a minimum, a market-focused review of a client’s current business and legal foodservice management contract terms to determine where those terms stand compared to the market should be performed on a regular basis. To provide more detailed, comprehensive knowledge, it is also important to examine invoices to confirm that a client’s current foodservice management contractor is billing in accordance with the terms of the client’s current agreement. To maximize the review process and findings, a formalized report that includes recommendations on ways to optimize the business and legal terms in the facility’s current foodservice management agreement should be a conclusive step.

Because patients’ perceptions of food and foodservice play a large role in the overall satisfaction with a facility, in addition to the benchmarking and cost reduction benefits, the audit process can be a vital tool in assisting facilities to aligning foodservice management operational performance objectives to patient satisfaction, quality and other key performance indicators.

As a final note, providers can use the results to renegotiate existing foodservice management agreements with their current contractors even before they are up for renewal or create a request for proposal (RFP). Most foodservice contractors will negotiate improved terms in exchange for an extension of an existing agreement so that they do not need to go out to bid. Alternatively, you may want to use the results of an audit to put your contract out to bid if you want to maximize your opportunity to increase your savings with your current vendor through a competitive bidding process or if you have been thinking about changing foodservice vendors.

Ask Intalere about our Nutrition Contract Audit and Analysis Service designed to help optimize your contracted foodservice management agreement. Our service includes a review your current contractor costs compared to national benchmarks, a legal review the terms and conditions of the agreement, and strategic direction to ensure your needs and expectations are fully met.

Nutrition in the Changing Healthcare Landscape

peter cayan

by Peter Cayan, MA, RD, CDN, LDN

Senior Director, Nutrition Specialists, Intalere

Nutrition and nutrition therapy have never been more relevant than now in the age of healthcare reform and the changing healthcare landscape. I recently discussed this topic with Dr. Tracy Smith, senior clinical manager for Abbott Nutrition, for a podcast.

According to the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer pays for hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure ulcers, falls and hospital-acquired infections – all of which have strong connections to malnutrition. Malnutrition increases the risk of hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions and can also delay recovery, increase medical complications and extend length of stay – all of which contribute to escalating costs. By identifying and treating malnourished patients upon admission and through discharge, hospitals can significantly improve quality and patient outcomes while reducing costs and meeting healthcare reform provisions.

People entering the hospital with poor nutrition status have poorer outcomes than their nourished peers. Nutrition status often worsens in the hospital, and may not improve on discharge unless the patient is given a post-discharge nutrition plan. The prevention and treatment of hospital malnutrition offer a tremendous opportunity to optimize the overall quality of patient care, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs.

The interdisciplinary Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition was formed to highlight the critical role of nutrition intervention in clinical care and to suggest practical ways to promptly diagnose and treat malnourished patients and those at risk for malnutrition.

The alliance has developed a call to action regarding the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to addressing malnutrition both in the hospital and in the acute post-hospital phase. Empowerment of all clinicians, recognition and diagnosis of all patients, same-day automatic intervention for all at-risk patients, education and involvement of patients in their nutrition care, and appreciation of the value of nutrition by all hospital stakeholders is absolutely critical. The alliance plan features a quality improvement program (QIP), which includes an initial screening for risk of malnutrition, communication plans for rapid intervention for those judged at risk and finally, a discharge plan that includes nutritional care.

Several studies have been done recently investigating the effect of implementing a QIP on reducing non-elective 30-day readmissions and healthcare costs for hospitalized patients identified as malnourished. The authors concluded that 30-day non-elective hospital readmissions and healthcare costs from avoided readmissions can be significantly decreased, while hospital and patient savings can be improved among the malnourished inpatient population through a rapid, comprehensive QIP.

To learn more about the importance of nutritional care in the current healthcare environment and plans for early nutrition intervention, listen to our podcast and/or read the transcript.

National Nutrition Month 2015: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

peter cayanBy Peter Cayan, Senior Director, Nutrition Specialists, Intalere

Healthcare food and nutrition professionals celebrate National Nutrition Month® (NNM) by advocating the importance of making sound food choices and sustaining balanced eating and physical habits. At the center of this campaign is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally known as the American Dietetic Association) whose theme, Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle, encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

Initiated in March 1973 as a week-long event, NNM became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information. Those credentialed practitioners leading the charge are known as Registered Dietitians (RD).

At a time of renaissance in the healthcare industry, when the constant surveillance of cost is seemingly paramount, the role of healthcare prevention has never been stronger. By its definition, prevention refers to helping people avoid getting sick or identifying diseases early so treatment can begin. (1)

In concert with the Academy’s theme, the Office of the Surgeon General cited two key strategies and priorities in the National Prevention Strategy, directed at eating and physical activity plans.

  • Eating healthy can help reduce people’s risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and several types of cancer, as well as help them maintain a healthy body weight. As described in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating healthy means consuming a variety of nutritious foods and beverages, especially vegetables, fruits, low and fat-free dairy products, and whole grains; limiting intake of saturated fats, added sugars and sodium; keeping trans-fat intake as low as possible; and balancing caloric intake with calories burned to manage body weight. Safe eating means ensuring that food is free from harmful contaminants, such as bacteria and viruses.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most important things that people of all ages can do to improve their health. Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, reduces stress and depression, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight or to reduce weight if overweight or obese. Even people who do not lose weight get substantial benefits from regular physical activity, including lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Healthy physical activity includes aerobic activity, muscle strengthening activities, and activities to increase balance and flexibility. As described by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, and children and teenagers should engage in at least one hour of activity each day.

In summary, employing simple changes to lifestyle choices and behaviors will assuredly result in the ability to maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health. There is no time like the present…why not begin this month?

(1)  The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD)

Learn more about Intalere’s healthcare food service and nutrition solutions for your organization.

National Nutrition Month: Balancing Economic and Satisfaction Measures

peter cayan

By Peter Cayan
Senior Director, Nutrition Specialists
Intalere

This year healthcare food and nutrition professionals celebrate National Nutrition Month® (NNM) by advocating the importance of making sound food choices and sustaining balanced eating and physical habits. At the center of this campaign is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) whose theme “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” portrays the key message of articulating the premise of “the foods that people enjoy are likely the ones that they’ll eat most.” In short, this year’s message focuses on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

Initiated in March 1973 as a week-long event, NNM became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.

So, has there been a shift from today’s theme to yesteryears’ messages? I vividly remember a former professor, from 30 plus years ago, reciting the simple message, “first, food must look good, taste good, and be good for you.” There is no doubt that the profession has made profound advances in nutrition education, marketing and medical nutrition therapies. To their credit, food and nutrition professionals have continued to embrace these new paradigms in their day-to-day operations. However, doing so in the most economic-challenging times.

National healthcare reform continues to drive less available dollars with a laser-focus emphasis on measureable quality patient outcomes. Furthermore, healthcare food and nutrition professionals have a continuous balancing act of economic and satisfaction measures that will ultimately help to define their organizations’ success or demise.

In my next blog post, I will discuss and define the balancing act of four key metrics that healthcare nutrition professionals use to define their performance. 

Bon appetit!