Through the program, customers who are Medicaid beneficiaries through AmeriHealth Caritas D.C. and who are currently experiencing a diet-related chronic illness can receive a prescription for fruits and vegetables from their healthcare provider and fill the prescriptions at the Giant pharmacy at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE in Washington D.C. Customers may fill prescriptions during their weekly shopping trips at the in-store Giant pharmacy. When filled each week, a Giant pharmacist will provide the customer with a $20 coupon to be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the store’s produce department.
“Giant Food is excited to be bringing the Produce Rx program to our local Alabama Avenue store,” said Gordon Reid, president of Giant Food. “As a food retailer, we recognize the important role we can play in the access to healthy foods and health education, and the program is certainly a natural fit with our ongoing efforts to support the health needs of the communities we serve.”
The motivation behind implementing Produce Rx was to further support hunger relief efforts, nutrition counseling and access to healthy foods. Giant continuously aims to build healthy communities through its team of expert in-store nutritionists and pharmacists, the Guiding Stars nutrition rating system, the Nutrition Made Easy! podcast and more.
“We believe that cross-sector partnerships are the only way to achieve health equity in our city,” said Lauren Shweder Biel, executive director of DC Greens. “Doctors and patients both need more tools to address food insecurity and diet-related chronic illness. Through Produce Rx, our healthcare system can be a driver to get patients access to the healthy food that they want and need.”
The Produce Rx pilot program will run at the Giant store at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE through Dec. 31, 2019, and customers may renew their prescriptions with their healthcare providers throughout the program. The pilot will kickoff with 500 AmeriHealth patients with the hope to expand to more individuals in the future.
“Healthful food is essential to healthy people. The produce prescription program is part of D.C. Health’s portfolio of innovative Healthful Food Access Initiatives, and these initiatives work together to meet individual and household food access needs while addressing gaps in the food environment in specific areas of our city,” said Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, director of D.C. Health.
“AmeriHealth Caritas D.C. is committed to helping our members, especially those with chronic health conditions, improve their overall health by adding more fruits and vegetables to their daily diet. Collaboration with community-based organizations and businesses like DC Greens and Giant Food are a key component of our strategy in this area,” said Keith Maccannon, director of community relations and outreach at AmeriHealth Caritas D.C.
The program will be spotlighted at an event on April 24 at the Giant located at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE in Washington, D.C. The event, which is open to the public, will feature speakers including DC Greens, Giant, D.C. Health, AmeriHealth Caritas D.C. and D.C. Councilmembers Trayon White and Mary Cheh.