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Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
President and CEO Thomas Malone tells the Akron Roundtable that changes have already been made based on staff feedback

Kabir Bhatia
Summa CEO Thomas Malone says the policy will make patients more comfortable around hospital staff. But some employees have criticized is as too restrictive and even misogynistic.
Courtesy of Summa Health System
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The new dress code at Summa Health System is drawing a lot of attention. However, the president of Summit County’s largest employer says today it is not “etched in stone.” WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
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Summa’s new dress code has rules about hair color, beard lengths and tattoos, and it also requires employees to wear pantyhose and undergarments. President and CEO Thomas Malone says employees can file for exceptions for religious or medical reasons and that the policy can always be changed.

“When we first sent it out, we got some feedback [and] we tweaked it a little bit. It’s not 100 percent enforceable – en masse – on day one. So we’ll be figuring out what makes the best sense on how we improve upon it over time. We’ve actually even gotten emails from people saying, 'It's about time.’ So, there’s pluses and minuses to everything.”

Malone also says he does not feel the policy is more restrictive to women, and it is simply a way for patients to feel comfortable enough around staff to participate in their own care.

“We’re delivering care. But if you put yourself -- at least in the hospital setting -- in a bed, with no clothes on and a robe that opens in the back, you’re probably more vulnerable than at any time in your life. And when people come in, and you don’t know who they are, and they’re not dressed very professionally, it makes you uncomfortable.”

About 9,000 people work for Summa Health System, which includes Akron City, Barberton and St. Thomas Hospitals. The Akron Roundtable address featuring Malone airs next Thursday night at 8 p.m. on WKSU.
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