St. Mary’s Kankakee partners to connect patients to fresh produce

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June 18, 2020 (Kankakee, Ill.)— On July 7, AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital Kankakee will host its first Rx Mobile distribution, in partnership with Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Launched in July 2019, Rx Mobiles are part of the Food Bank’s Screen & Intervene program. The goal of this program is to identify chronic disease patients experiencing food insecurity and connect them to fresh produce.

To identify patients, healthcare organizations and other community partners conduct screenings for food insecurity, defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lack of consistent, dependable access to enough food for all household members for active, healthy living. If patients screen positive, they are referred to the Rx Mobile program or another intervention. 

“Studies have shown that food insecure individuals often have disproportionately higher rates of chronic medical conditions, such as obesity and diabetes,” said Sharon McNeil, manager of Healthy Community Programs, including Screen & Intervene and Rx Mobiles, with Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Partnering with healthcare organizations has helped us to address the intersection of food insecurity and chronic disease management at a single point of service. Our goal is to assist patients with chronic disease, [and] better manage their condition by increasing access to healthy food options.” 

“We appreciate any assistance we can get in bringing health and nutrition to our community,” said Danielle Sosnowski, dietitian with AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital. “We meet one-on-one with our patients in diet nutrition counseling and this generous partnership allows us to help them see that advice through in their everyday lives. This is an amazing opportunity for our patients in need.”

St. Mary’s Hospital will be the third AMITA hospital to partner with the Food Bank with the goal of increasing food access for patients. The program has been offered for more than a year at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale and AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet.

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