Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and Walgreens have launched a food insecurity screening program at 24 Walgreens Healthcare Clinics in the Knoxville and Kansas City areas to help address a societal issue that impacts one in eight Americans today. Food insecurity, defined as the lack of access to enough nutritionally adequate foods to live an active, healthy life, contributes to poor health, lower productivity and higher medical costs.
As part of the program, patients visiting any of the seven Walgreens Healthcare Clinic locations in Knoxville and 17 Kansas City locations will be screened by health care providers utilizing the Humana & Feeding America Food Insecurity Toolkit and the Hunger Vital Sign™ screening questions. Walgreens nurse practitioners, who have been formally trained on the subject, can connect patients who screen positive to local and national resources to help ensure they receive proper assistance, support, and access to healthy and nutritious food.
“Humana is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve as part of our Bold Goal population health strategy and is thrilled to work with Walgreens to execute this program in two of our Bold Goal markets” said Caraline Coats, Vice President, Bold Goal & Population Health Strategy, Humana. “A main focal point of our strategy focuses on addressing social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, which has far-reaching impacts on health. By opening the door for a physician or clinician to discuss and screen for food insecurity, interventions can be created to help manage conditions like diabetes, heart disease and depression, and improve health outcomes.”
According to Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, one in eight Americans struggle with hunger nationally and in Missouri, and more people are impacted in Tennessee where the issue affects one in seven.
This food insecurity program collaboration between Humana and Walgreens aligns with an initiative that both companies announced this past June, focused on providing easier access to primary care and other services for seniors in the Kansas City market. As part of that agreement, Partners in Primary Care, a Humana subsidiary, will open senior-focused clinics in two Walgreens stores. The two Partners in Primary Care clinics, slated to open this fall, will also screen for food insecurity, as will five Health Resources by Humana desks at Kansas City area Walgreens stores.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship with Humana and working together to improve the health and well-being of our patients and communities,” said Patrick Carroll, M.D., Walgreens chief medical officer and group vice president, healthcare services and clinical programs. “Our Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners can play an important role in helping to address food insecurity as part of this initiative, and as another way to further their commitment to overall patient care.”
Four years ago, Humana established a Bold Goal to improve health 20 percent by 2020 by making it easier for people to achieve their best health. Working in tandem with community partners and physician practices, Humana has activated several interventions and programs over the years to address food insecurity in each of its designated Bold Goal communities (Baton Rouge, Broward County, Chicago, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Louisville, New Orleans, Richmond, San Antonio and Tampa Bay). By working together, they hope to help improve individual health and accessibility to resources at a local level.