Ephraim McDowell Health is now offering the Ephraim McDowell Food Assistance Partnership Program to help fight food insecurity among hospitalized patients. The program will provide individual boxes of non-perishable food for food insecure patients and their families upon discharge from any of the healthcare system’s three hospitals … Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital and Ephraim McDowell James B. Haggin Hospital.
The Ephraim McDowell Food Assistance Partnership Program is made possible through a partnership with God’s Pantry Food Bank. God’s Pantry Food Bank provides and packages all food assistance boxes offered through the program at no cost to Ephraim McDowell Health or the patients who receive a box. The food inside the box includes shelf-stable meal items that are easy to cook and is intended to feed a patient and their family for one to two days. Items that may be included in the box are peanut butter, shelf-stable or powdered milk, oatmeal packets, canned vegetables and fruits, canned proteins (tuna, salmon, chicken) and beans as well as cereal and spaghetti and sauce.
Patients will have the opportunity to participate in the Food Assistance Partnership Program based upon their responses to the Social Determinants of Health survey that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) requires for patients at the time they are admitted to the hospital. Patients will receive an emergency food box if they found themselves food insecure during the previous 12-month period. Food insecurity is defined as not having enough food to feed their family and being unable to get more as well as being worried that their food supply would run out.
“We are so excited for the opportunity to bring this valuable connection to vulnerable populations in our communities,” said Rebecca Rowe, director of Volunteer Services at Ephraim McDowell Health. “This program will enhance Ephraim McDowell’s response as a healthcare system to the 10 factors that influence lifelong health and well-being as identified by the CMS Social Determinants of Health initiative.”
Rowe noted that the Food Assistance Partnership Program specifically addresses patients’ accessibility to healthy food, which is important to help in their recovery and healing from injury or illness.
Hospital volunteers will provide the food boxes to patients at the time of discharge. Volunteers will also give patients a copy of a Community Resource Guide that Ephraim McDowell Health developed. That guide lists community resources that individuals can reach out to if their personal situation is preventing them from experiencing optimal health due to social disparities.
Questions about Ephraim McDowell’s Food Assistance Partnership Program can be directed to (859) 239-3663. Individuals who may be interested in becoming a hospital volunteer to assist with the program may reach out to Rowe by calling (859) 239-1208.