The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI), together with Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks and pantries, announce the release of Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion: How HIPAA and Concerns about Protecting Patient Information Affect Your Partnership.
Health care providers and payers are increasingly realizing that food insecurity and unmet nutrition needs play a large role in the health outcomes of their patients and beneficiaries. When a patient is hungry, worried about running out of food, or unsure of where her or her family’s next meal will come from, that patient is less likely to be able to follow the medical advice of her health care provider. Food insecurity is also correlated with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, and worse outcomes related to diabetes among patients who live with limited financial resources. Children in households that are food insecure fall ill more frequently, are hospitalized more often, and take longer to recover after becoming ill. In short, food insecurity is a key social determinant of health.