For many people, hospitals are seen as a place of health and wellness, but one physicians group doesn't view the Medical Center Navicent Health that way. That’s because of one of its dining options.
Erica Akins is a frequent visitor at the Medical Center.
“At least twice in a week's time seeing friends and family up here,” Akins said.
While she’s there, she usually grabs something to eat at the McDonald’s inside the hospital.
“I get the dollar cheeseburger, the dollar fry, and the dollar drink,” Akins said.
That could come to an end if the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine gets their way. They want fast food options like McDonald’s out of the Medical Center when their lease with the fast food chain ends in 2019.
“They should be promoting health and wellness,” Karen Smith said. “Just like patients can no longer smoke in hospitals, they shouldn't have access to fast food and processed meats because of the risk of chronic disease.”
“Smith is a registered dietician with The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She wrote a letter to the Macon-Bibb County Health Department urging them cut ties with fast food inside the hospital.
Instead, Smith suggests that a vendor only be able to sell healthy, low-cost, plant-based food.
“They should be setting a good example for the community in which they're in,” Smith said. “Helping prevent disease reverse disease and certainly nutrition is a huge part in doing so.”
The physician group has already put up several billboards promoting a fast food-free hospital around town. Akins and others might take a little more convincing to get on board.
“Everybody come to McDonald’s that I know because it’s very affordable,” Akins said.
While it might be cheap, some physicians believe the quick meal now could cost you more in the long run.
In response to the letter, Tim Slocum, Vice President of System Support Services for Navicent Health, released the following statement:
“The Medical Center, Navicent Health provides a number of dining options for the convenience of our guests, including a number of cafeterias and cafes offering a variety of affordable, locally sourced menu options. The Chick-fil-A franchise located on our campus ceased operation in April 2017 to make way for the expansion of Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health and to support our ongoing mission of providing high quality, reasonably priced health services for children throughout the region. We currently have a lease with a local McDonald’s franchisee, and plan to uphold the terms of that agreement.”
The Macon-Bibb County Board of Health is expected to discuss the letter at a meeting on August 21, at 5:30. The meeting will be held in the Macon-Bibb County Health Department Board room.