Tuesday, January 10, 2017
ACA and food security
Beyond insuring preexisting conditions and covering young adults until age 26 on their parents’ health plans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes another requirement worth keeping. The ACA mandates that nonprofit hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan every three years or risk a $50,000 tax and the loss of their nonprofit status. Community Health Needs Assessments have reported food insecurity as a top finding among patient populations. In response to their findings, health centers nationwide have developed Community Health Implementation Plans that address their patients’ food insecurity. Partnerships between medical centers and food banks have begun in Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, and Minnesota. Nearby, the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) and Boston Medical Center established the nation’s first hospital-based food pantry. In 2016, GBFB launched a public health initiative to support community health centers. In partnership with the Charles River Community Health Center in Brighton, GBFB provides the health center with a toolkit of available resources to which patients can be connected, including local food pantries, state and federal assistance programs, and nutrition education, and it operates a free monthly, produce-only mobile market in its parking lot. To date, it has distributed more than 15,000 pounds of food.
Source: Boston Globe, 12/29/16, ACA and Hunger