Health: At Your Service
Dinner starts with puree of asparagus over wild mushroom ravioli. The main course is sashimi-grade tuna served perfectly rare on a bed of charred figs, grapes and baby turnips. And for dessert, there’s citrus-and-sour-cream cheesecake topped with lemon sorbet. A five-star meal at Lacroix? Not quite — although it was prepared by one of the restaurant’s former sous-chefs. No, this is
Dinner starts with puree of asparagus over wild mushroom ravioli. The main course is sashimi-grade tuna served perfectly rare on a bed of charred figs, grapes and baby turnips. And for dessert, there’s citrus-and-sour-cream cheesecake topped with lemon sorbet. A five-star meal at Lacroix? Not quite — although it was prepared by one of the restaurant’s former sous-chefs. No, this is being wheeled to a patient in a hospital room at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. And not just any hospital room, but one with 300-thread-count sheets, Lindi skin-care products, a Frette-quality robe, a stocked refrigerator, a flat-screen TV with a DVD, and wireless Internet access.
Welcome to the world of concierge hospital care, where money can’t buy health — but it can purchase luxury health service. Already a staple at A-list medical centers like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, this pamper-the-patient trend has finally landed in Philly, where last January UPMC opened the Pavilion, a $3 million renovation of half a hospital floor into a $350-to-$450-a-night, 10-bed mini-¬hotel. The concept came out of HUP’s development office, as a way to offer deluxe services to donors who get sick — as well as to cultivate new gifts. The medical care is no different, insists Larry Kaiser, who wears a dual hat as Penn’s chief of surgery and co-medical director of the Pavilion: “We want to take care of the people who take care of us.”
“We are all about service and lessening patient anxiety,” explains Cheryl Boberick, nurse manager of the Pavilion. If that means having a Pavilion hostess buy white raisins for a man who doesn’t like dark ones, or hop a train to Center City to find a favorite hairbrush for a woman who’s left hers at home, that’s what they’ll do.
The Pavilion is equipped to handle almost any patient need, personal or medical. One man remained for 42 days; another books his room for monthly chemotherapy six months ahead of time. Donald Young, a 68-year-old Moores-town businessman, called the decision to stay in the Pavilion a no-brainer: He got a night in a suite for $450 — about what he’d have paid for a New York hotel room and a Four Seasons level of service — and his experience exceeded expectations. The Pavilion’s lead concierge, Mayra Negron, seamlessly guided his family through check-in. Once Young was wheeled off for surgery, his wife and daughter were served omelets and muffins in the private family/business center. By the time the afternoon tea cart rolled around, Young was sitting up in bed, spooning ice cream and marveling that the Pavilion was so quiet. (There are no loudspeakers in the unit.) His guests sipped coffee, nibbled just-baked cookies, and debated whether to have the fennel-scented salmon or the mascarpone braised chicken for dinner. “This would actually be a great vacation,” Young’s wife said, “if only Donald hadn’t been here for surgery.”