Hartford Hospital and Wholesome Wave have announced their pilot collaboration designed to improve the affordability of fruits and vegetables for 500 low-income diabetic patients.
Wholesome Wave is launching its Wholesome Communities Connecticut initiative in partnership with Hartford Hospital to empower healthcare providers to write prescriptions for produce. The produce purchases and all program expenses are funded by Hartford Hospital.
The Wholesome Wave team is working closely with Hartford Hospital’s Adult Primary Care and Diabetes Life Care clinicians on both program design and implementation.
“Our communities face a real need,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, President and CEO, Hartford HealthCare.
“By reaching out directly to the individuals we serve, and addressing food insecurity, we can achieve great success in improving the overall health and well-being of our most vulnerable population. We are fully committed to investing in our community and helping people live their healthiest lives.”
More than 400,000 Connecticut residents from all walks of life struggle with hunger, according to the Connecticut Food Bank. Many times they must choose between food and other necessities such as housing, utilities and healthcare.
This fall, through the Wholesome Communities Connecticut initiative, registered patients facing food insecurity and unmanaged diabetes can receive $60 worth of Wholesome Rx vouchers monthly, which can only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at CTown and Hartford Mobile Market Stops.
Each month, participants may receive a $60 voucher ‘refill’ by meeting programmatic requirements, such as meeting with their clinician or attending nutrition education classes, and data will be collected throughout the program. This three-pronged approach—Inform, Activate, and Measure—ensures success in catalyzing increased consumption of fruits & vegetables driving toward reduction in healthcare cost and utilization.
Programs like Wholesome Rx together with the commitment of Hartford Hospital will empower patients to choose the fruits and vegetables that are right for their family.
The goal of the produce prescription program will be to demonstrate the impact of additional produce purchasing on fruit and vegetable consumption, healthy behavior change, and longer-term healthcare utilization. This new initiative will build upon Wholesome Wave’s successful three-year produce incentive program in Hartford and Vermont that was funded by the USDA.
“By making this commitment to move the needle on critical social determinants of health like food insecurity, Hartford Hospital will deeply impact the city of Hartford and surrounding areas, as well as take leading role alongside Wholesome Wave in growing the Food is Medicine movement across the country,” said Bimal Patel, President, Hartford Hospital.
“Wholesome Wave is excited to partner with Hartford Hospital on this innovative pilot that supports low-income patients who struggle with diet-related illness,” said Craig Lomma, CEO, Wholesome Wave. “Together, we will give them the power to buy the nutritious fruits and vegetables that they need to be healthy, but otherwise could not afford. Wholesome Wave is thrilled to begin what we envision to be a long-term, impactful relationship with Hartford Hospital.”
For more information about Wholesome Wave, click here.