Letters: Meals on Wheels and MWHC

FXBG Advance invites readers to submit letters to the editor. Letters should not exceed 500 words, include the writer’s name, city, and phone number (for contact purposes only), and should not include ad hominem attacks or inappropriate language. FXBG Advance reserves the right to edit all letters. Send your letters to [email protected].

Meals on Wheels and MWHC

I’m writing to provide some clarity as it relates to a recent letter to the FXBG Advance editor, which incorrectly cited Mary Washington Healthcare as withdrawing support from the Meals on Wheels program serving the surrounding area.

Mary Washington Healthcare has not been involved in this program. Rather, it has been Morrison Healthcare, its contracted foodservice partner, that has worked closely with the Interfaith Community Council (ICC) since 2012 to provide meals for a community-based, volunteer-run Meals on Wheels program. As part of the partnership with ICC, Morrison prepared meals in the Mary Washington Hospital kitchen, which were then picked up by ICC volunteers and delivered to Meals on Wheels members within a four-mile radius of the hospital. 

We have been proud to support this community need for more than a decade; however, the program looks much different than it did when it began. Due to the significant reduction in requests for meals, which now number only a few each day, we have made the decision to end our services. We let the ICC know of our intention to end service on March 1, so they would have time to find another partner to better serve a small group. Our main focus has always been to provide excellent service and care to our patients, and we will continue supporting the community through the nutritious and fulfilling meals we serve at the hospital.

We appreciate the wonderful work the ICC does for our friends and neighbors, as well as the commitment of the local Meals on Wheels team, and we have valued our partnership over the last 12 years. 

Chris Lee
Regional Director of Operations
Morrison Healthcare

How Many Signatures Is too Many?

Your February 25th Guest Editorial, “Mary Washington Healthcare on the state of the region’s healthcare safety network and the Moss Free Clinic,” signed by MWHC CEO Michael McDermott, MD, makes me wonder why Dr. McDermott would enlist 28 respected community members to explain away his most recent self-inflicted public relations error.

These 28 unsuspecting people seem to have fallen under the spell of a local Pied Piper, the CEO of MWHC.  I urge each of the 28 to ask the CEO to consult with and listen to competent public relations people ­before he launches his announcements impacting MWH staff and the community.  A competent public relations person should have a feel for the pulse of MWH staff and the community, something Michael McDermott obviously does not have.  A competent PR person might be able to reduce or eliminate the blow-back from MWH staff and the community, which McDermott tried to minimize or excuse in his Guest Editorial. 

After more than 33 years of reading MWHC press releases, I wonder whether management is aware or concerned about the impact of their releases.  It seems that when the public or staff is impacted the most, the press releases are ticking time bombs, usually leading MWHC to retract them once they experience blow-back of this magnitude.    

Does anyone among MWHC’s senior executives possess enough foresight to prevent the morale-damaging decision that was made?  Do they care what the public thinks about how they treat their staff and the public?

Respected and successful corporate leaders manage by walking, asking questions and listening to answers. The MWHC CEO created the culture of how MWHC treats staff and the public.  It’s time for the CEO to walk among staff and the public to learn what they have to say and to prevent similar self-inflicted PR gaffes.

Ronald N. Fiske
Fredericksburg

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An Economically Sound Approach to Road Safety

The FAMPO safety plan (“FAMPO Seeks Feedback on Safe Streets and Roads for All Action Plan,” February 29) has many worthy goals but its opponents will always cite cost as the major obstacle. One set of physical changes that would cost little would be to paint crosswalks even without new signal lights on intersections throughout the city where there are now none, but especially on the major roads such as Route 1 and Lafayette Boulevard. Crosswalk painting has at least a small deterrent effect on drivers
and slows traffic a little. A place to start would be Lafayette from Sophia to Route 3 where there are almost no marked places to cross the road. William Street could also use crosswalks.

If crosswalks require legal adjustments, then the city should discuss this with the DMV. Being able to walk safely in town should be a high priority for us all.

R Thomas
Fredericksburg city