Food Bucks Rx and expanding programs

In the coming years, Lankenau Medical Center and The Food Trust plan to expand their retail–health care strategies to reach more retail settings throughout West Philadelphia and, in turn, reach more individuals.

First, as part of a USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program grant, Lankenau will support the implementation of a “Food Bucks Rx” program, a fruit and vegetable prescription that will build on the success of Philly Food Bucks by expanding venues in which low-income patients can shop with food bucks. Distributed at clinics and intended to support healthy food choices, these new vouchers will be eligible for redemption at grocery stores and supermarkets, select corner stores and farmers markets.

By meeting people where they shop—and for most people, this includes multiple settings—Lankenau and The Food Trust will increase the access and affordability of healthy foods for more Philadelphians. Tracking voucher distribution and redemption rates and linking this information to patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs), while also providing ongoing opportunities to learn about healthy eating and where to access nutritious foods, may further help reduce food insecurity and support healthy food choices among those accessing services.

Second, Lankenau will expand its Medical Student Advocate (MSA) program and outreach in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Office of the Mayor Community Schools Initiative, and federally qualified health centers in West Philadelphia. In 2018, Lankenau Medical Center will collaborate with the Blackwell, Haverford, Wynnefield, Overbrook and Haddington branches of the Free Library to provide preventive health screenings and to connect those utilizing library services to farmers markets as well as Philly Food Bucks and Food Bucks Rx program incentives. In addition to libraries, Lankenau plans to expand its outreach and preventive health care services to health centers including Spectrum Health Center (a federally qualified health center in West Philadelphia), City Line Family Practice (a Main Line Health Care practice just outside the city), PCOM City Ave Family Practice (a Delaware Valley Accountable Care Organization practice) and Lankenau’s Emergency Department.

By expanding the breadth and depth of food access and preventive health care services in the years ahead, Lankenau Medical Center and The Food Trust aim to reduce health and wellness inequities facing West Philadelphians.