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Northwell Health fights against food insecurity

Food insecurity is one of the most significant social determinants of health in the United States. Adults and children in food-insecure households have more emergency room visits and hospital admissions, are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases and often struggle to manage their existing ones. These factors increase this population’s spending on medical care, which is disproportionately higher than people in food-secure households.

The Food As Health program at Northwell's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital is a novel, evidence-based integrated hospital approach aiming to improve health outcomes and engagement by addressing food insecurity for at-risk patients. The program collaborates with food access community-based organizations, food vendors and internal health system stakeholders to decrease food insecurity, hospital readmission rates and avoidable emergency department visits. It does this through three service options: a hospital-based food resource center, mobile food pantry and medically tailored, home-delivered meals from God’s Love We Deliver.

Patients experiencing food insecurity are identified using the evidence-based Children’s HealthWatchTM Hunger Vital Sign survey. Since the program launch on July 9, 2018 through December 2018, the FAH program has screened 801 patients, 228 of which were identified as food insecure. Patients identified as eligible for the FAH onsite resource center have an enrollment rate of 88%. Patient experience scores have improved as well. Through the end of 2018, 4,000 pounds of fresh produce were distributed to patients attending the onsite resource center.

For more information, contact Nancy Copperman, MS, RD, CDN, vice president, community health, at ncopper@northwell.edu.

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