Screening Patients for Food Insecurity

MaineHealth partners with Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Community Health & Hunger Program to train MaineHealth care teams on food insecurity as it relates to chronic disease. The number of patients screened by MaineHealth care teams for food insecurity has increased from:

  • October 2019 to September 2020: 69,332 patients
  • October 2021 to September 2022: 104,798 patients

As part of this process, food access resources have been added to MaineHealth’s electronic health record system, and healthy emergency food resources are available to patients who need them. Through a partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, 37,500 pounds of food were distributed to patients including 14,500 pounds of fresh produce in between October 2020 and September 2021.

“Now that we screen for food insecurity and can provide food resources to patients in need, our conversations and communications in clinic around healthy eating are more holistic, inclusive, and supportive. Providing the food bags, having an understanding of how to connect patients to local food pantries and taking time to listen about their experiences around affordable food access strengthens, the provider-patient relationship, allowing us connect in very fundamental ways.” – MaineHealth care provider

“[It’s] about how the relationship with the patient changes when they know we are comfortable discussing what they may be going through in their struggle for food security.” – MaineHealth care provider

Learn more about MaineHealth food insecurity programs