Meatloaf takes top spot in 2023 as Baptist Health serves more than four million meals

March 15, 2024

As Baptist Health celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s fitting that the most popular meal served at its hospitals last year was a classic comfort food – meatloaf.

Meatloaf was a runaway favorite among all comers – who were twice as likely to order it over the #2 choice of braised beef tips and gravy for patients and the healthy option of chicken cordon bleu for staff and visitors. Last year, the top seller was chicken tenders.

“It’s no surprise that people turn to comfort foods – such as meatloaf – when they don’t feel well. Comfort foods may remind us of a parent or caregiver’s love – and they’ve been shown to lessen stress,” said Lisa Shoopman, associate vice president, Food & Nutrition Services. “We’ve known that since the early days at the original Kentucky Baptist Hospital when the favorite meal was traditional Thanksgiving fare – turkey and dressing, giblet gravy and candied sweet potatoes.

“For balance, today we offer many healthy choice selections on our Fresh-N-Fit menu, including the popular chicken cordon bleu bake which is gaining acceptance with staff and visitors.”

Some 1.2 million of those meals were served at Baptist Health Louisville, known for a meatloaf recipe much-requested by Courier Journal readers in the 2000s. (You can still make it at home: Baptist Hospital East's meatloaf (

To keep popular entrees on the menu, the grocery list for Hospitality Services included 224,256 five-ounce chicken breasts and 30,768 pounds of pot roast, with a side of 131,370 pounds of French fries.

Coffee shop visitors most often warmed up with white chocolate mocha, while fountain drink lovers made Coke the frontrunner, narrowly besting Mountain Dew.

Taking into “a count”

Nearly 103,000 patients came through the doors at Baptist Health’s nine hospitals, including 12,239 new babies, creating 15 million pounds of laundry.  Supply chain manages all that laundry, plus 18,850 items daily – ranging from the exotic (surgery robots) to the mundane (bedpans).

Another 406,017 people visited the Emergency Department, including 18,243 treated at one of two hybrid ERs (Baptist Health ER & Urgent Care). Roughly one in every four ER patients were admitted to the hospital.

Those scheduling appointments for one of 1,650 Baptist Health Medical Group providers, or for diagnostic procedures, burned up the phone lines with 4.6 million calls to the two Patient Connection hubs, or 384,000 per month. 

Accounting for calls made by Hub personnel to patients, the number soars to 6.85 million, or 571,000 calls per month.

No doubt some of those calls were to schedule mammograms (101,923), colonoscopies (37,261), or even open heart/valve replacement surgeries (1,527). 

Baptist Health nurses, aides and therapists traveling to provide home care visited 14,529 people in Kentucky, southern Illinois and southern Indiana.

Baptist Health is ranked #1 in Kentucky for open heart surgeries (performing 1 in 4); orthopedic surgeries (1 in 6); emergency visits (1 in 8); admissions (1 in 6); deliveries (1 in 4), and outpatient visits (1 in 6).

By the numbers: Baptist Health has 2,740 licensed beds at eight owned hospitals and one joint venture, offering more than 450 points of care and about 1,650 employed healthcare providers. Baptist Health’s physician network also includes more than 2,000 independent physicians. The health system employs more than 23,500 people. Learn more at – which has more than 12,000 indexed pages.