Kaiser Permanente Launches Service to Address Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is one of the most positively screened for social determinants of health.

In an effort to address one of the most positively screened for social determinants of health, food insecurity, Kaiser Permanente today launched Food for Life to improve food issues at a national scale.

Kaiser started Food for Life, a broadscale texting campaign to connect eligible California residents with CalFresh, a supplemental nutrition assistance program. As part of the program, Kaiser will offer medically tailored meal delivery options for patients and their families.

The medically tailored meals can be important for medication management, allergies and conditions like cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.

“Food for Life builds on our existing community health work, such as preventing affordable housing, researching firearm injury prevention and teaching resiliency in schools, to improve health outcomes, decrease the cost of care and create systemwide change,” said Bechara Choucair, M.D., chief community health officer at Kaiser Permanente.

CalFresh provides individuals with up to $192 per month to buy groceries and recently expanded to include residents who receive supplemental security income. The addition of these residents increases eligible residents by more than one million, Kaiser Permanente said.

In California, 40% of those surveyed reported experiencing stress about food needs in the last year. Despite the need, California ranks 42nd in the U.S. in supplemental nutrition assistance programs.

The Food for Life campaign will reach more than 600,000 Kaiser member households, Kaiser claimed.

“This relatively simple but profoundly effective approach has the potential to be seamlessly scaled to millions more people,” Kaiser said.

“The association between good health and healthy food is indisputable, and if we want to make our communities the healthiest in the nation, it is crucial that we connect people with the resources they need to achieve total health,” said Bernard Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.

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