Skip to main content

Food is life: Why healthcare facilities must be part of the solution to food insecurity

It’s 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. You’re exhausted and still need to pick something up for dinner. The nearest grocery store is 15 miles away, and the only thing closer is a convenience store with higher prices and fewer healthy options. This is what it can be like to live in a food desert  — one of several contributing factors of food insecurity.

Food insecurity and limited or uncertain access to adequate food impacts millions of Americans each year. And the pandemic only compounded access and affordability issues that drive food insecurity like irregular income, unemployment and disability. Add to this heredity’s influence, race and ethnicity and you have a very complex picture of food-related health issues in 21-century America.

While most social determinants of health lay outside of healthcare’s circle of influence, they create conditions that erupt inside its circle of treatment. In most cases, the healthcare industry faces acute to downstream effects in the form of improper utilization, high costs and poor but preventable outcomes. Socially Determined, DataGen’s SDOH partner, reports that annual healthcare expenditures are $1,834 higher for adults with food insecurity — one of many links between the two.

What is a hospital, health system or community-based organization to do? They can integrate institutional knowledge with new community data sources and partnerships to quantify food insecurity risk and program investment.

Identifying food insecurity, down to the ZIP Code

As highlighted in a prior blog, food is one of six SDOH categories that DataGen uses to help providers measure social risk via a snapshot of the non-clinical vulnerabilities that affect individuals and the community. The other five SDOH categories — digital competency, finance, health literacy, housing, and transportation — can be used discretely or collectively to assess risk and influence the design and deployment of interventions that will impact the people who need them most.

To link SDOH investment, resource planning and ROI, DataGen can give hospitals access to nearly 70 data elements that help identify and calculate risk. This data scopes in to ZIP Code or out to larger disadvantaged areas.

Dimensions, risk and interventions for a new standard of care

DataGen licenses SDOH data through Socially Determined. Each SDOH category reflects data drivers that help hospitals calculate community social risk (none to high) and prioritize need. Access to affordable, healthy foods and food literacy are two of the several drivers of food-insecurity risk scoring at the community level.

As far back as 2017, the American Hospital Association profiled the role hospitals play in addressing food insecurity: from screening, identification and education to tangible resources and referral.

Hospitals can leverage their triennial Community Health Needs Assessment to address food insecurity as a health risk in their communities. DataGen now offers CHNA Advantage™, a turnkey package that combines survey tools, a data analytics platform (including SDOH), planning documents, and report templates to assist them with prioritization and planning of interventions.

Food insecurity as a component of delivery system strategy? Welcome to the standard of care.


Popular posts from this blog

Alternative payment models: Strategies for success

In this edition of DataGen Insights, we look at how alternative payment model participants can ensure their processes and workflows are optimally set up for success. To help, DataGen listed the top three strategies all providers participating in APMs can employ and created a handy checklist to enable maximum returns and reduce financial risk. Please explore our website to learn more about our  products and services .  Download DataGen Insights today .  We hope you enjoy!

CMMI’s New Enhancing Oncology Model – Deadline Approaching

As the final at-risk period for the Oncology Care Model was closing at the end of June, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced its new Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM). EOM aims to improve the coordination of oncology care, drive practice transformation and reduce Medicare fee-for-service spending through episode-based payment.  What is EOM? EOM is a voluntary, five-year model set to begin July 1, 2023. Patients undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer will trigger six-month episodes of care.  Eligible EOM participants include physician group practices with at least one Medicare-enrolled physician or a non-physician practitioner who furnishes evaluation and management services to Medicare beneficiaries receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment.  EOM participants are required to implement eight participant redesign activities to drive care transformation in their practice. Examples include the provision of patient navigation, 24/7 access to an appropriate c

BPCI Advanced – take advantage of the model extension now

The Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced Model is now open for applications until May 31, 2023. This model provides a unique opportunity to acute care hospitals and physician group practices who are looking to: evaluate their bundle performance; rejoin if they have previously dropped out due to being under a convener; or take advantage of the changes to the model. With a small window to sign the participation agreement, you’ll need experts to process data quickly and accurately for evaluation. BPCI Advanced Program Details The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in October 2022 that this program will extend from January 2024 to December 2025. Data used for evaluation will be taken from the baseline period between October 2018 and September 2022. A participation agreement will be sent out in September 2023 and needs to be signed by October 2023 in order to participate. Those who apply before the May 31 deadline will benefit