Health inspectors temporarily close hospital cafeteria

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Presence Covenant Hospital in Urbana on July 27, 2016.

Health inspectors shut down the cafeteria at Presence Covenant Medical Center, 1400 W. Park St., Urbana, on May 10 after they noted a repeated critical violation – sewage wastewater backing up from the floor drain underneath a hand sink into the grill area.

They noted the same problem initially during a routine inspection on April 15, but hospital staff repaired it on site. All the food in the area was then discarded.

Inspectors gave the hospital cafeteria an adjusted score of 31 – which is a failed score – on the April 15 inspection after inspectors noted five additional critical violations, including spoiled lettuce and food at unsafe temperatures. Inspectors also condemned a dishwasher for use after noting that did not sanitize its dishes.

Nearly a month later, the hospital had not submitted a required re-inspection request form, but health inspectors conducted a follow-up inspection on May 10.

Inspectors then noted sewage wastewater backing up from the same floor drain and closed the cafeteria. Although the cafeteria received an adjusted passing score of 41, it was closed down because of the repeated critical violation.

Because food service for patients was conducted in a different area, it was allowed to continue, according to health department records.

The hospital released the following statement in response to a request for comment by CU-CitizenAccess:

“Regarding the violations issued to Presence Covenant Medical Center public food service this past spring, at no time was the wholesomeness of meals being served patients compromised in any way. Repairs and upgrades were initiated immediately and additional safety measures were initiated to avoid similar issues in the future.”

During a follow-up inspection on May 11, the hospital was again cited for the same violation but inspectors permitted it to reopen because hospital staff kept the grill area closed until the problem was repaired.

Inspectors cited the hospital cafeteria for 12 repeat violations on its May 10 inspection and seven repeat violations during its May 11 inspection.

A contract plumber was hired to repair the problem, according to inspection records. In addition, hot food preparation was moved elsewhere and health inspectors gave the cafeteria an adjusted score of 70.

In a May 25 letter to hospital management reinstating the cafeteria’s food permit, Jim Roberts, director of environmental health for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, wrote,
“Note that we expected a better performance than a re-inspection containing one repeat critical violation and six repeat violations.”

The grill area was allowed to reopen on July 14 after health officials verified that “a new hand sink with repaired drainage” had been installed, Roberts said in an email.


This story has been updated to remove a typo in the following sentence: “The grill area was allowed to reopen on July 14 after health officials verified that ‘a new hand sink with repaired drainage’ had been installed, Roberts said in an email.”


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  1. Randall Krause

    Interesting, as Presence Hospital was where I was brutally attacked by security guards in October 2014, for simply trying to leave the ER without signing my discharge papers. Presence Hospital was also the same place where in December 2015, nurses and doctors forcibly medicated me in the ER, even though I was not posing a danger to anybody, which is in direct violation of Illinois statute. Both incidents would constitute aggravated battery. However, because I’m mentally ill, Presence Hospital is allowed to skirt the law.