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Seattle - (March 29, 2013) — Virginia Mason Medical Center and Guiding Stars, the nation’s leading independent nutrition guidance program, have announced the launch of a new partnership designed to help hospital staff and guests make more nutritious choices when dining in the medical center’s cafeteria.

Virginia Mason is the first foodservice provider on the West Coast to implement the Guiding Stars at-a-glance food rating system that helps diners quickly and easily identify foods that offer a better nutritional value. The program is part of the hospital’s comprehensive Health and Sustainable Food Practice Pledge designed to improve the overall health and well-being of patients, staff, visitors and the surrounding community.

As one of the most sophisticated and advanced facilities in the Pacific Northwest, Virginia Mason has been recognized as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades in six clinical areas, including cardiac and gastrointestinal care for the second consecutive year. The medical center was also recognized as a Five-Star Recipient by Healthgrades in 22 categories of care.

“Virginia Mason has been widely recognized as a premiere health care center across many clinical disciplines, and adding Guiding Stars to its foodservice program is a clear indication of the priority the center places on holistic health,” said Sue Till, client services manager with Guiding Stars. “We’re very pleased to have them as our first West Coast hospital partner and we look forward to working together to help people live healthier.”
 
The Guiding Stars system rates the nutritional value of every item in the Virginia Mason cafeteria, including hot and cold prepared foods, salad bar, grab-and-go items and beverages. Each item is then labeled according to its value: one Guiding Star is good, two Guiding Stars is better and three Guiding Stars is best. All items are evaluated using a patented algorithm based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other national evidence-based nutrition policies.

“We all know that eating healthy is so important, but when you’re pressed for time or concerned about a loved one, it can be difficult to take time to figure out which items are the best choice for you,” said Virginia Mason Food & Nutrition Director Jerry Roundy. “While we always make it a priority to provide healthy options, the Guiding Stars program adds an extra layer of user-friendliness, especially for those with specific dietary concerns.”

In addition to providing nutritional guidance for cafeteria guests, the Guiding Stars program can also be easily expanded to include patient menus in hospital settings.

For more information about the Guiding Stars program, visit www.guidingstars.com.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at VirginiaMasonBlog.org.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@vmmc.org

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