Humana, Continucare Team with Feeding South Florida to Address High Food Insecurity

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

After launching the Bold Goal of making the Broward County community 20 percent healthier by 2020 in late 2015, Humana Inc. (HUM), in partnership with non-profit organizations and physicians, recognizes that tackling food insecurity ranks high as a way to positively impact community health.

Humana partnered with Continucare Medical Centers and Feeding South Florida to pilot a program to help address food insecurity in Broward County. During a four-week period, all patients at four Continucare centers in Broward County with an office visit were screened for food insecurity. Of the 530 patients screened, 46 percent screened positive for food insecurity.

All patients who screened positive were offered a consultation with a Feeding South Florida representative, an emergency food box, as well as information on federal, state and local programs to assist with food insecurity. Almost all, 96 percent, of the patients who met with Feeding South Florida, accepted the emergency food box and 83 percent of the patients were referred to local food pantries and other agencies.

“We found our clinic associates were eager to adopt this program and help make a positive impact on our patients’ lives,” reported Humana Regional Medical Director Carey Connolly, D.O. “The simplicity of the Food Insecurity survey, combined with the satisfaction of seeing the patient leave with a box of food and a connection with a food resource in the community, was so rewarding for all involved.”

Dr. Connolly reported that patients who screened positive had nearly two times as many unhealthy days as patients who screened negative, as measured by the Healthy Days survey completed by participants. Healthy Days, a tool established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, measures how individuals perceive their physical and mental health, and is the metric Humana uses to measure progress towards its Bold Goal.

“Feeding South Florida is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with Humana on such an innovative, forward-thinking project that really highlights the correlation between health and food security,” said Feeding South Florida Vice President of Community Relations Sari M. Vatske. “We believe that the work we do isn’t just about feeding people, it’s about providing the proper nutrition necessary to thrive.”

“Addressing food insecurity as a barrier to health is a top priority toward reaching our Bold Goal,” said Emily McGrath, the Humana strategic consultant in charge of leading the team’s food insecurity initiatives. “Through programs like the one in Broward County, we are able to show how a partnership between physicians and community organizations like Feeding South Florida can have a dramatic and positive impact on population health.”

The Broward County Food Insecurity program indicated patients were receptive to food insecurity screenings in a clinical setting. It also allowed Humana to measure the relationship between Healthy Days and food insecurity and understand the health differences between food insecure and food secure patients. As a result, the company is looking to expand food insecurity screenings and referral programs to other clinics in South Florida.

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