Hospital service found excellent; board stands by anti-tipping policy
By TIFFANY RONEY
Memorial Health System customers are so happy with the service it provides that they want to tip those who are serving them. However, MHS does not allow tipping.
MHS CEO Mark Miller said Village Manor customers are challenging the system’s anti-tipping policy.
“A lot of our customers really resent that; they resent not being able to express their gratitude to one of our employees,” Miller said.
Miller said MHS has also run across this issue in another of its affiliates, Impact Sports & Fitness. Customers have said they want to tip their personal trainers.
“That’s very common in fitness centers, but we don’t allow that,” Miller said. “I was actually ready to start thinking, ‘Is there a way to lighten up on this?’ Because we really have upset people in not allowing them to do this.”
After thinking it over, though, Miller decided to keep the policy at a level he referred to as “very strict.”
“If your father is a Village Manor resident, and you like this particular CNA and you give him 100 bucks because he’s doing a nice job, and somebody else knows that, they’re going to start perceiving that the CNA is giving special attention to the resident, even if he isn’t,” Miller said. “It’s just too slippery a slope.”
Amy Altwegg, executive director of Village Manor, said she agrees with the anti-tipping policy.
“I have residents who couldn’t give each staff member 50 cents, let alone…” Altwegg said. “I mean, they couldn’t even if they wanted to.”
Handling it kindly
As much as MHS employees appreciate the gesture, Miller said the management is working with staff members to teach them how to diffuse situations of attempted tipping.
The closest thing to gratuity the policy allows is a nominal amount given not to one specific employee but to all the staff of a given unit. For example, some residents, former residents or residents’ families have given small bottles of hand lotion to all Village Manor employees of their unit.
“You can never be 100 percent with that kind of thing, but we try to give people alternatives,” Miller said.