Tuesday, September 6, 2016
HOSPITALS CAN PROVIDE SUMMER MEALS
Federal laws require nonprofit hospitals to (1) help improve the health and well-being of the local communities they serve in order to maintain their nonprofit status and (2) complete a Community Health Needs Assessment, in collaboration with public health experts and community representatives, that identifies significant community health challenges in need of interventions. Taken together, these requirements extend community benefit activities to include things like “access to adequate nutrition” and other social determinants of illness. These assessments can provide opportunities for nonprofit hospitals to partner with the USDA Summer Food Service and other federally funded nutrition programs. Hospitals could serve free healthy in their clinics and cafeterias to children visiting the hospital for appointments or when they accompany family members being cared for as patients. Additionally, the sites can be “open,” thus allowing children in the community to receive a free meal.