Promoting Population Health with a Food at Discharge Program

One of the major components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to promote the triple aim of:

  1. improved care
  2. reduced cost
  3. enhanced patient experience

A part of that aim is also to address the issue of population health including aspects for the economically disadvantaged involving hunger, proper food and nutrition - particularly for children and those with medical issues.

Addressing Hunger as a Need and a Health Issue
ProMedica, a nonprofit multi-hospital healthcare system serving counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, is known for its commitment to diversity and delivering an interdisciplinary approach to community healthcare. Part of its mission to provide the best possible care to an ever-changing population and prioritizing community needs has focused on hunger as a health issue.

Lacking nutritious food to eat is a dire health concern, says Randy Oostra, DM, FACHE, President and CEO, ProMedica. “Food insecurity . . . is a health issue causing distress in communities nationwide,” he continues. “Malnutrition also causes financial burdens for healthcare systems, governments, insurance carriers and taxpayers.”

Prescription Food Services
As part of its Come to the Table initiative, patients respond to two statements covering the last twelve months, selecting “often,” “sometimes, or “never.”

  1. We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more.
  2. The food that we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to buy more.

How patients responded was indicative of their food insecurity and nutritional needs. Chloe Plummer, ProMedica clinical dietician stated, “Hunger is very much tied into our patients’ health so we want to treat our patients for food insecurities. It’s actually a form of treatment or a prescription for (them). The whole idea is food is medicine.”

Food at Discharge for Better Health

Nutrition and health for post-acute admissions patients are addressed by the Food at Discharge program in which ProMedica and Concordance Healthcare Solutions have partnered. The program is designed to address food insecurity and scarcity within several patient demographics as well as to prevent readmission to hospitals due to poor or unavailable nutrition. ProMedica buys the non-perishable food and Concordance employees inventory, pack and ship the boxes to each of ProMedica’s twelve hospitals.

When a patient is admitted to a ProMedica facility, the admissions professionals identify if there is a need for food or nutritional assistance as well as the patients’ willingness to accept it. At discharge, they can receive food, a nutritional guide and information about community services they may need.

In this Repertoire Magazine article, Dave Myers, Concordance Healthcare Solutions VP is quoted as saying, “ProMedica is constantly building programs to benefit our communities . . . They put words into action, and they place the patient first." Says Myers, "Everybody talks about wellness and following the patient, ProMedica is actually doing it.”

To learn more about Concordance Healthcare Solutions, please contact us here.

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