Food, nutritional counseling provided to support patients with diabetes related to food insecurity
BALTIMORE—MedStar Health has launched a new site for its innovative Food Rx program. The unique, evidence-based approach to providing medically tailored food and nutritional support to patients with diabetes related to food insecurity opened in the MedStar Harbor Hospital area. The program is an expansion of the first Food Rx site launched at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital last year, which has served more than 100 patient households to date.
Food Rx is a population health initiative that in collaboration with the hospital’s Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, helps qualified patients from the communities near the hospital manage diabetes and develop healthier eating habits. Food Rx has been proven to successfully help individuals lose weight, lower blood sugar, and reduce emergency department visits and medical expenses.
Too often, patients who stand to benefit most from healthy food options, such as those with uncontrolled diabetes, are unable to afford them – resulting in even further worsened health. These patients can qualify however for Food Rx after referral from the Community Health advocate team and an endocrinologist, a specialist in diabetes management.
“We’ve been gained tremendous insight over the past year of organizing this program at MedStar Good Samaritan and are excited to build on the success of it there, by expanding into the south Baltimore community,” said Lucas Carlson, MD, MPH, regional medical director for Care Transformation at MedStar Health. “We know that food plays a huge role in an individual’s overall health. Diabetes is a chronic condition that too often brings patients back to our emergency department if they lack the resources to maintain a diet tailored to their condition.”
“Food truly is medicine and is a necessary component of chronic disease management,” Nancy Rozgony, RD/LDN, and dietitian leader for the MedStar Harbor Hospital Food Rx program.
For approximately six months, program participants will see Rozgony, and endocrinologist Rani Kulkarni, MD, or Luiz Rivera-Ramirez, MD. They’ll also get help accessing additional services including:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Meals on Wheels • Movable Feast • Health insurance
- MTA mobility bus transportation • Housing
- Disability income, and more.
To refer a patient to Food Rx at MedStar Harbor Hospital, or for more information, call 410-350-2555.