Hospitals Say Good-bye to McDonald’s

McDonald’s is everywhere, right? Yes, but not so much in hospitals anymore. The McDonald’s in the Truman Medical Centers’ main campus in Kansas City, Missouri, recently ended its 20-year-old arrangement with the fast food chain. That makes the fifth hospital to sever its connection with McDonald’s in the past few years. It seems hospitals have lost their taste for trying to deliver better health while McDonald’s delivers high-calorie, high-sodium food to their employees and visitors.

Truman CEO John Bluford said the decision was made because the hospital was sending an “inconsistent message.” But change is coming slowly. McDonald’s began showing up in hospitals as a convenience for visitors and employees several decades ago, and many hospitals have leases as long as 30 years with the chain. So as hospitals across the country begin to install healthy-selection cafeterias, some employees will still have to walk by the Golden Arches in order to get there. And the 30-year deals that were so financially attractive at first, bind hospitals that want to change.

Last Fall, the Partnership for a Healthier America announced the Hospital Healthy Food Commitment, inviting hospitals to adopt standards that span over four-years. The standards include nutrition labeling, healthy food marketing, wellness meal offerings, elimination of deep fat fryers, increases in healthy beverages and increases in fruits and vegetables offered. And while the healthy food commitment doesn’t require an end to McDonald’s franchises on hospital campuses, it certainly increases the pressure for change.

Click here to read the NPR story and here to to read more about the Hospital Healthy Food Commitment in Modern Healthcare.