Why choose coffee over our elders?

Dear Gary,

Did we seriously kick grandma out for a cup of coffee? The attached accounting for the hospital coffee shop/deli, taken out of the hospital district’s Assisted Living and Extended Care Budget, shows a $65,000 loss in the last nine months of 2012, but was never considered to be cut.

Cutting short a six-year lease, our administration added the lobby coffee shop to the Long Term Care Budget and christened it the “Drip Line.” As of April 15, 2012,The Drip Line is open approximately 98 hours a week and employs one full time employee and two part time employees. It was expanded to offer deli style food and meal specials. Please see the asterisked start up costs of roughly $9,970 determined by the hospital.

After getting over the initial sticker shock, I enlisted some help from professionals in the industry. Research shows that the employees staffing the Drip Line are paid above and beyond industry standards; baristas usually make minimum wage and tips, they do not get paid benefits like the Drip Line employees. The $68,000 revenue barely covers the employee wages and benefits let alone the $133,551 it costs to operate.

We still at this point, do not have a clear understanding through disclosure requests, of what is included in the $50,000 “supplies” and those in the industry were a little more than stumped at what kind of supplies would cost so much.

After talking to many of the employees and community members, to their credit, they were genuinely confused and almost guilt ridden.

“This came out of the Assisted Living and Nursing Home Budget?” , “It’s great to have the services there but not at the expense of our seniors housing”, It’s nothing you couldn’t walk a couple of blocks and get from the other coffee shops and businesses”, “why didn’t they just lease the spot out again?” etc. seem to be the general consensus. In essence why would we uproot 28 of our seniors and six employees in favor of a service that supports three positions. Services that could have been provided by someone knowledgeable in the industry, absorbed those three positions and generated an income from leasing the spot. Why attach it to an already “stressed” budget? And Why chose this service over our elders needs?

John Snider