HealthPartners expands Rx program for fruits and vegetables
Clinics to offer $10 prescriptions for local grocery stores
Bloomington, Minn. – August 11, 2015 – Beginning this month, children who visit one of 15 participating HealthPartners, Park Nicollet, Stillwater Medical Group or Westfields Hospital & Clinics will not only get a check-up and preventive care, they will also have the opportunity to receive a $10 prescription(Rx) to buy fruits and vegetables at various grocery stores in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
“Providing this prescription to families in a medical setting sends a powerful message that to be in the best health, everyone should eat five fruits and vegetables every day,” said Anne Edwards, MD, Pediatrics Chair with Park Nicollet Health Services. “It gives physicians a tool to talk to families about making better-for-you food choices and it may reach families who would not otherwise choose fresh fruits and vegetables.”
The program, which began two years ago as a pilot program at the HealthPartners clinics in Hugo and White Bear Lake, was implemented last year at the Park Nicollet clinic in St. Louis Park resulting in 3,500 families receiving an Rx for fruits and veggies. This year, the program has expanded to 15 total clinic locations, including HealthPartners’ Como, Maplewood, Brooklyn Center, Highland Park, Nokomis, Midway and Westfields clinics, along with the Park Nicollet clinics in Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park and Brookdale, and Stillwater Medical Group clinics in Somerset, Stillwater and Mahtomedi. Prescriptions from all clinics can be redeemed at Cub Foods grocery stores, except in Hugo where the local partner is Festival Foods. Prescriptions issued at the Westfields, Stillwater, Mahtomedi and Somerset clinics can be redeemed at either Cub Foods, Family Fresh grocery stores, or the Westfields Farmers’ Market. An estimated 8,800 families are expected to get a prescription for fruits and veggies this year, and funding for the program is provided jointly by HealthPartners yumPower and the Park Nicollet, Lakeview Health and Westfields Hospital Foundations.
The fruit and veggie Rx runs through October, and is based on research linking consumption of fruits and vegetables to improved health. The 2013 Minnesota Student Survey found that a majority of 5th graders (6 out of 10) in the Twin Cities metro area eat fruit only once a day or less. Three out of four 5th graders eat vegetables once a day or less.
In addition to the fruit and veggie Rx program, HealthPartners yumPower, BearPower and PowerUp School Challenges provide a fun program that includes tracking how many fruits and vegetables kids eat. Last year, more than 24,000 kids at 63 schools participated in the program. Fruit and veggie tracking increased by approximately 10 percent during the School Challenge.
“Fruits and vegetables are a key to healthy family eating,” said Andrew Dorwart, MD, St. Croix Valley Medical Director. “The voucher is a way to help make it a little easier to get more fruits and vegetables.”
Founded in 1957, HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. The organization is dedicated to improving health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community, and provides a full-range of health care delivery and health plan services including insurance, administration and health and well-being programs. HealthPartners serves more than 1.4 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. The care system includes more than 1,700 physicians, seven hospitals, 55 primary care clinics, 23 urgent care locations and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. HealthPartners Clinic, Park Nicollet Clinic, Stillwater Medical Group, Westfields Hospital & Clinic, Physicians Neck & Back Center and virtuwell.com are all part of HealthPartners. In addition, HealthPartners Dental Group has more than 70 dentists and 22 dental clinics. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through its Institute for Education and Research. For more information, visit healthpartners.com.