On-Site Food Farmacy Will Be One of the First in Upstate New York

For Immediate Release
January 31, 2019
Media Contact: Charles Wiff: (607) 743-8314 or (518) 326-6400

On-Site Food Farmacy Will Be One of the
First in Upstate New York
A partnership between Alliance for Better Health, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and Ellis Medicine will bring innovative preventative health service to Ellis Medicine patients.

TROY, NY – Alliance for Better Health, in cooperation with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and Ellis Medicine, today announced the launch of an on-site Food Farmacy program at Ellis Medicine’s McClellan campus, an innovative approach to combating issues of food insecurity and inadequate nutrition in Schenectady County, and one of the first of its kind in Upstate New York. The on-site Food Farmacy enables referred individuals to work with a nutritionist to receive healthy, nutritious foods, and receive fresh produce and other healthy food.

In conjunction with the Food Farmacy, the Community Nutrition Program will make a meaningful difference for individuals who are nutritionally at risk or who have food insecurity. The program will deliver medically tailored meals for homebound, and critically or chronically ill patients who are discharged with unique nutritional needs. Having launched in early fall, the Community Nutrition Program enables referred individuals to work with a dietician and to receive healthy, nutritious foods at home while learning how to sustain a healthy diet.

The Food Farmacy and Community Nutrition Program are made possible as part of Alliance for Better Health’s 2018 innovation projects, which are providing more than $5 million to dozens of organizations in the Capital Region to demonstrate new concepts that are proactive in maximizing the health of individuals in our community and therefore reduce the need for care and the financial burden of that care on individuals, business and taxpayers.

“Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and Ellis Medicine are to be applauded for undertaking a unique, front-line approach to the health of individuals in the Capital Region,” said Jacob Reider, M.D., CEO of Alliance for Better Health. “This is work that can immediately address determinants of health for vulnerable people, leading to better health and preventing unnecessary trips to the hospital.”

Food insecurity is identified as a leading concern in Schenectady County. The county’s food insecurity rate is 10 percent, affecting nearly 34,000 residents, and for children under the age of 18, the food insecurity rate is 17 percent. Additionally, one-third of the county’s population is obese, the highest in the region, and well above the state average of 25 percent. Obesity and lack of adequate nutrition are issues that contribute to health complications such as diabetes and hypertension.

“We’re thrilled to bring our area of expertise to this partnership,” said Vincent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. “Good nutrition and access to food is an important part of being healthy and staying healthy. Now, patients in the Ellis system will be able to get access to a food program, including a community meals program, on the same campus where many see their doctors. In addition, patients will be able to connect with a comprehensive network of programs and services through internal referrals from the Farmacy. Catholic Charities has run food pantries and meal programs for decades, so it makes perfect sense for us to partner with Ellis and the Alliance to bring these services in a new and unique setting to help drive healthier outcomes for the people we serve.”

“Food insecurity and inadequate nutrition go hand-in-hand, and have a big impact on the overall health of a community. Ellis Medicine is proud to host the Food Farmacy to find solutions to make for a healthier Schenectady County,” said Ellis President and CEO Paul Milton. “As an independent hospital system, we value our collaborations with organizations such as the Alliance for Better Health and Catholic Charities. When we work together, program by program, we can have a meaningful impact that makes our community a better place.”

The on-site Food Farmacy is open daily Monday to Friday with a referral from Ellis Hospital staff and will provide individuals in need with a three-day supply of food and medically tailored meals.

Catholic Charities staff at the on-site Food Farmacy will also determine whether individuals are eligible for a federal nutrition program, need information about applying for benefits or can benefit from referrals to community food resources.

In addition to the on-site Food Farmacy, Alliance for Better Health is supporting more than 55 innovation projects across the Capital Region, all of which seek solutions to the region’s most significant health challenges. The projects are required to be measurable and sustainable, and their success is measured by the New York State Department of Health as part of its Medicaid reform effort, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

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About Alliance for Better Health:
Alliance for Better Health engages medical and social service providers in developing innovative solutions to promote the health of people and communities, with a goal of transforming the care delivery system into one that incentivizes health and prevention. Established in 2015 as a Performing Provider System in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program (DSRIP), Alliance partners with more than 2,000 providers and organizations across a six- county area in New York’s Tech Valley and Capital Region.

About Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany:

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany is one of the largest, private social services organizations in the region. Serving 14 counties around the Capital Region, Catholic Charities serves and empowers all persons in need, regardless of race, creed, religion, or lifestyle; advocates for a just society; and collaborates with women and men of goodwill. Last year, over 83,000 people turned to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany for assistance. Through the generous support of donors and the community, we are able to assist the poor and vulnerable with housing, food, emergency assistance, disabilities services, family assistance, youth services, senior services, and much more.

About Ellis Medicine:

Ellis Medicine is a 438-bed community and teaching healthcare system serving New York’s Capital Region. With five campuses — Ellis Hospital, McClellan Street Health Center, Bellevue Woman’s Center, Medical Center of Clifton Park and Mohawk Harbor Urgent and Primary Care — six additional service locations, 3,300-plus employees and more than 700 members of its medical staff, Ellis Medicine is proud to provide a lifetime of care for patients. Ellis offers an extensive array of inpatient and outpatient services — including cardiac, cancer, emergency, neuroscience, and women’s services.