AHF's largest chapter draws over 200 operators from the Mid-Atlantic region for a discussion on "service."

When the Greater New Jersey Society for Healthcare Food Service Administrators (GNJSHFSA) meets, it's quite an event. The largest regional chapter of AHF, the Association for Healthcare Foodservices, it boasts a substantial membership, and they like to get together.

More than 200 healthcare foodservice operators from the Tri-State area did just that in mid-November at The Westwood, a conference facility in Garwood, NJ, southwest of Newark.

The single-day event was themed, Putting the Service Back Into Food Service. “Our goal was to help get our members back to service fundamentals,” said incoming 2012 Chapter President/Conference Chair Michael Atanasio, manager of food & nutrition services for Overlook Hospital/Atlantic Health in Summit, NJ.

“Our focus in 2012 will be on helping them navigate what promises to be a period of challenge in 2012-14 with the coming changes from healthcare legislation.”

The agenda included presentations from REX Healthcare Food & Nutrition Services Director Jim McGrody, consultants T.J. Schier of Incentivize Solutions & p.o.d. Training; Donna Boss of Boss Enterprises, and Food Management Editor-in-Chief John Lawn.

“My take on hospital food is that it is changing in ways that will be permanent,” says McGrody. “Patients are driving this change and it is causing healthcare operators to re-think everything they do.

“When you go out to eat, do you see Jello on the menu? Then why do we offer it, except for restricted diets. We should be pushing our administrations to get rid of the old model.”