Food Clinic Opens at MetroHealth
The MetroHealth System is opening a food clinic on its main campus as part of a pilot program to address food insecurity, when people do not have reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food. The program is starting with help from Citizens Bank and the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation.
Cuyahoga County has the highest number of food insecure residents and children in Ohio.
Using a “Food as Medicine” concept, patients will receive a food prescription written by their primary care provider, which covers two visits a month to the food clinic. Patients can select a two- to three-day supply of healthful food for their household, at no cost. The first patients enrolled in the program have screened positive for food insecurity at the time they are discharged from a hospital stay, have a primary care provider at MetroHealth and have uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension or acute exacerbation of heart failure.
The Greater Cleveland Foodbank will stock the clinic with whole grains, dairy, fresh and frozen produce, canned fruits, vegetables and meat products. A diet technician will provide nutritional education and speak to patients about their dietary needs. Bus and parking passes will also be available for patients in need.
“This is one more way we’re helping people stay healthy and out of the hospital,” says Akram Boutros, MD, MetroHealth’s president and CEO. “In the process, we’re not only reducing health care costs, we’re relieving the anxiety and stress that contribute to dozens of other illnesses. Thank you Citizens Bank, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and Greater Cleveland Food Bank for helping us turn food into good medicine.”
Citizens Bank contributed $50,000 to develop the Food as Medicine program and food clinic at MetroHealth. Through our Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger program, we are dedicated to reducing food insecurity in our local communities,” said Ralph Della Ratta, State President, Citizens Bank, Ohio. “The Food as Medicine program and on-site pantry make a critical connection between hunger and health. Citizens Bank is proud to support this innovative way to address the issue of food insecurity while also improving the health of the community.”
The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation recently approved a two-year grant of $78,618 to support the program. "MetroHealth continues to push the envelope in providing high-quality care to Cleveland's most vulnerable people," said Mitchell Balk, President of the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation. "What's perhaps most exciting is the opportunity to link the outcomes of this population health effort with the evolution of clinical practice."
The food clinic is located in the Outpatient Plaza and will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with varying morning and afternoon hours.