Nov 20, 2019
OneCity Health, the NYC Health + Hospitals Performing Provider System under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, today announced outcomes from the food and nutrition program led by Public Health Solutions (PHS) with partners BronxWorks, God’s Love We Deliver, the Food Bank for New York City and Healthfirst. Funded through OneCity Health’s Innovation Fund, PHS’ Food and Nutrition Services Bundle (FNS Bundle) program offered screening and navigation to community food and nutrition resources for food insecure Bronx patients at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.
In a 10-month period beginning in November 2018, PHS was able to help register 871 families for food and nutrition programs, with nearly 60 percent of participants screened being enrolled in one or more food and nutrition services, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Through these services, the proportion of families in need of emergency food resources who were able to access such resources rose from six percent to 56 percent. PHS received $704,050 from the $5 million total allocated for OneCity Health’s Innovation Fund, which has a goal of implementing programs targeting DSRIP priorities and the public health system transformation goals, including reducing avoidable hospitalizations, improving community health outcomes, and addressing social risk factors associated with poor health, such as food insecurity.
“The Innovation Fund was intended to explore new ways of building an integrated delivery system that addresses whole-person care by strengthening partnerships between community-based organizations, hospitals and health plans. Congratulations to our partners for their success building a program that was able to bring food and nutrition to so many patients and families in need,” said Israel Rocha, CEO of OneCity Health and Vice President of NYC Health + Hospitals.
“Since launching our Food and Nutrition Services Bundle, Public Health Solutions and our network of community partners have helped a significant number of low-income New York City individuals and families enroll in food and nutrition services,” said Lisa David, President and CEO of Public Health Solutions. “When more families achieve food security, we see better health outcomes, decreased health disparities, and major health care cost-savings – in short, improved public health. OneCity Health has been an integral partner in enabling us to test a new model bringing these services to vulnerable populations across New York City.”
While there are a number of community-based services and resources to improve food security and nutritional health, their reach is often fragmented and uncoordinated. To address this, PHS and other partners developed the FNS Bundle, which connects community-based food and nutrition services to critical healthcare and community access points. By developing a network of resources, more families are able to easily navigate and access resources in their community. The FNS Bundle model works by embedding food security specialists within healthcare settings who connect patients to the full range of local food and nutrition resources, including SNAP, WIC, medically tailored home-delivered meals, food pantries, congregate meals, individual and group nutrition counseling, and sources of fresh produce.
“The stresses that come with food insecurity make treating and managing diseases particularly challenging. Addressing access to nutrition should be a consistent part of healthcare and this program made those connections happen,” said Kate MacKenzie, Director of The Mayors Office of Food Policy.
“Food insecurity can undermine the wellbeing of a family and exacerbate health issues pervasive among the most vulnerable New Yorkers. This outreach effort is having a huge effect in closing the gap between vital anti-poverty programs and the people who are most at risk. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals for taking a stand against this issue and connecting families in our community with the resources they need,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“A major piece in our efforts to improve the health outcomes of our borough is making sure constituents are well-informed of the food and nutrition resources available, and are actively utilizing them. I am so grateful for the work of OneCity Health and Public Health Solutions in creating a coordinated network of federal, local, and community nutrition programs, allowing Bronxites in need to easily access services to support their health and wellbeing,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
“I commend OneCity Health and Public Health Solutions for tackling food insecurity challenges in the Bronx through the Innovation Fund. Food insecurity and scarcity have plagued our communities with chronic disease, malnutrition, and more,” said State Senator Luis Sepúveda. “Community-driven programs such as these combat structural inequalities and empower our communities with greater access to quality, affordable foods and better health and wellbeing, ultimately improving food justice and public health for all.”
FNS Bundle proves cost effective to participants, as well. Based on research estimates of healthcare savings, the average estimated savings associated with SNAP enrollment is about $1,400 per enrollee per year, and $9,036 a year associated with medically tailored home-delivered meals.
To reach eligible patients, PHS established a “Bronx Food Resource Table” at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln where food security specialists engaged participants and coordinated appropriate referrals. Between November 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019, 57 percent of outcomes resulted in enrollment into services. Nearly 15 percent of participants enrolled in two or more services, the most frequent combination being SNAP and food pantries.
PHS supports vulnerable New York City families in achieving optimal health and building pathways to reach their potential. OneCity Health funding was used to develop and coordinate the network and provide food navigation.
According to Hunger Free America, the Bronx remains New York City’s most food insecure borough, with more than one in four (26 percent) Bronx residents experiencing food insecurity. This includes more than 20 percent of all children, nearly 17 percent of working adults, and almost 24 percent of seniors.
PHS published all outcomes of the FNS Bundle program. You can access that report here.