ProMedica, a nonprofit healthcare organization serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, is partnering with the Alliance to End Hunger to host Come to the Table, a summit in Washington, D.C., to broaden the dialogue nationally about addressing hunger as a health issue.
The partners are encouraging other U.S. healthcare leaders to help end hunger in their communities through creative, efficient collaborations, and federal legislators to protect food-related policies and programs while engaging with industry leaders to address reimbursement and cost savings measures focused on prevention and work in the social determinants of health. More than 30 Congressional members are among nearly 200 registrants for the Feb. 27 summit, to be held in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
"U.S. hunger is a far-reaching problem that we believe must be confronted from multiple angles, with healthcare organizations, social service agencies and government leaders all working together," said Randy Oostra, DM, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMedica. "This summit, part of our Come to the Table advocacy initiative, is the next of many steps in achieving this collaborative effort nationally."
The Summit will feature an array of experts on hunger and health including Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Deborah Frank, MD, Professor of Child Health and Well-Being, Boston University School of Medicine, and Founder of Children's Health Watch;Ken Thorpe, Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease; and Ravi Sachdev, Managing Director, Healthcare Coverage, J.P. Morgan.
According to the Center for American Progress, healthcare costs resulting from hunger are $130.5 billion per year. Feeding America found that hunger affects nearly one in six U.S. households. Malnutrition among elderly people, for example, increases disability and decreases resistance to infection, extending hospital stays.
As one of the nation's leaders in treating hunger as a healthcare problem, ProMedica addresses the social determinants of health by focusing on hunger, housing and education—along with improving equity among its residents overall so everyone has the same opportunity to attain their full health potential.
ProMedica works with other community partners as part of its Come to the Table initiative to establish a food reclamation program, repackaging more than 70,000 pounds of unserved food for homeless shelters and other feeding sites last year alone.
ProMedica also initiated a program to screen patients for hunger as they are admitted to hospitals. When patients are discharged, they are given an emergency, one-day food supply, and they are connected to community resources for further assistance.