Rocky Williams from the Arvest Foundation presents a check to Norman Regional to support the Health System’s new Food Pharmacy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Oklahoma ranks fifth in the nation for food insecurity. To help our patients facing this challenge, Norman Regional Health System is piloting a Food Pharmacy in partnership with the Norman Regional Health Foundation (NRHF) and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. NRHF received a $5,000 grant from the Arvest Foundation to assist in launching the Food Pharmacy.

“Our desire is to impact both individual and population health outcomes through addressing food insecurity among our patients that are acutely ill and vulnerable” stated Erin Barnhart, Executive Director of the Norman Regional Health Foundation. 

The idea for this program began from Norman Regional Hospital Authority Board Trustee Doug Cubberley who asked the health system to explore an idea such as this to help our patients.

The Food Pharmacy program addresses food insecurity and malnourishment for inpatient hospital patients by:

  • Screening patients upon intake to determine if their living conditions involve food scarcity or malnourishment. Currently, 8% of inpatients are screened as malnourished, approximately 800 patients per year.
  • Providing one week supply of food (including frozen meals) from the Food Pharmacy, nutrition education and food pantry locations would be provided upon patient discharge.
  • Connecting patients with recommendations and applications for SNAP, WIC, and community food pantry referrals.

“It is so rewarding to be able to provide food even for just a short time during these challenging times. When patients are having to choose between critical medications or dinner for their families, the Food Pharmacy can truly be lifesaving,” said Kristin O’Neal, Transition of Care Manager and registered nurse.

Based on Feeding America Research Analytics, reducing food insecurity within Cleveland County by 3% would result in a 22% healthcare savings for the county.

To learn more, please contact Sara Raney 405-307-2143 or sraney@nrh-ok.com.