Nonprofit hospitals tackle community food needs

In "food deserts"--neighborhoods where sources of healthy food are few and far between--not-for-profit hospitals can help bridge the gap, according to the Boston Globe. The publication cited a recent report, which found  the community's lack of access to nutritious food cost the system $130.5 billion in 2010. Under new Internal Revenue Service rules, not-for-profit hospitals must evaluate community health needs every three years. As a result, New England hospitals will serve as a testing ground for how not-for-profit providers can address the issues. For example, in Massachusetts, Plymouth's Jordan Hospital has brought in Marcia Richards, who helped overhaul public school lunch options, as its dietitian. Massachusetts General Hospital screens patients for red flags that indicate food insecurity and maintains a food pantry, while Connecticut-based organizations Wholesome Wave and Fresh Advantage collaborate with local hospitals to improve hospital cafeteria options. Article