Food Is Medicine Program

At Family Health Services, we firmly believe that food is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your health. It’s a simple yet effective idea that has been around for many years and is supported by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence. We understand that it can be challenging to make healthy choices, especially with the increasing cost of groceries and the overwhelming amount of information available about nutrition online.

This is why we have created the Food is Medicine Program – to provide you with the tools, resources, and support you need to make healthier choices, improve your overall health and well-being, and prevent or manage chronic conditions.

As a participant in this program, you will have the option to receive up to two boxes of food every month, filled with delicious and nutritious options, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods.

But this program is more than just food – its goal is to support you in making changes that promote your overall health and well-being. You will also have the opportunity to meet with your Primary Care Provider and a Registered Dietitian, along with a Care Coordinator as needed, to address any other needs you may have, such as medication management, transportation, or housing. These appointments will give you the chance to ask questions, monitor your health conditions, and get access to additional resources to support your journey towards feeling your best! Everyone is different in what type of support they benefit from. Because of this, we have different participant options available.

We believe that food is medicine, and we are committed to helping you see it that way too. By the end of this program, you will have the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to continue making healthy choices and seeing your food as medicine for a lifetime.

​How Do I Know if I Am Eligible To Participate?

  • Are you 18 years or older with a chronic health condition (hypertension, obesity, diabetes, etc.)?
  • In the last 12 months, have you worried about your ability to access fresh, healthy food due to cost?
  • Are you a patient at Family Health Services (or looking to become one)?
  • Are you interested in making positive changes to your diet to help improve your health?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are eligible for the Food is Medicine Program! We do not have a specific income limit, as we understand that financial challenges can impact anyone. We operate on an honor system and ask that participants only use this service if they genuinely need it.

If you did not answer yes to these questions but are still interested in speaking with a dietitian, please fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

How Does It Work?

The Food Is Medicine Program is a 12-month commitment that provides participants with monthly “Be Well Boxes” of nutritious food. These boxes contain fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-sodium beans, nuts, and some type of protein and come with recipes that detail how to use the food to support your health goals. The food is stored in a refrigerated locker system stocked by a local food non-profit called OHgo. You can pick up your box at your scheduled dietitian and doctor appointments or receive a code to pick up your box if you don’t have a visit scheduled. At your first visit, you will receive a special Family Health Services portion plate, a set of measuring cups, and a starter bottle of olive oil. As a part of the program, we also offer different incentives for remaining in the program or meeting your health goals. Some incentives include a set of Tupperware, a blender, oven mitts, baking sheets, ground flaxseed, and more! There are two options for the program depending on your needs:

Option 1: This option is ideal for individuals who have a relatively stable chronic health condition and do not require as much frequent support or food assistance:

  • Receive one box of fresh food per month
  • Meet with your dietitian once a month for the first three months, and then every three months (or as needed) until participant graduates from the program
  • Meet with your primary care provider as deemed necessary by your physician
  • Attend group nutrition classes as desired

Option 2: This level is more intensive and is ideal for individuals who have more complex chronic health conditions and require more frequent support or food assistance.

  • Receive two boxes of fresh food per month
  • Meet with your dietitian once a month
  • Meet with your primary care provider as deemed necessary by your physician
  • Attend group nutrition classes as desired

In summary, the main difference between the two options is the amount of food provided and the frequency of visits with a dietitian. Option 2 provides more food and more frequent visits with a dietitian to better support individuals with more complex chronic health conditions. Regardless of which option is chosen, participants are encouraged to continue seeking care for all their healthcare needs, including dental and behavioral health, throughout the program. Access to primary care, dietitians, therapists, and dentists are crucial for maintaining overall health. Each of these healthcare professionals plays a unique role in promoting wellness, managing chronic conditions, and preventing disease. Having all of these services located in one building like they are at Family Health Services can make it easier to access comprehensive care and receive coordinated treatment.

Do I Have To Pay?

We go through insurance for your dietitian and doctor visits. If you typically have a copay then you will likely have a copay for your visits with both the doctor and the dietitian. There is no cost for the food and each box contains ~$25 worth of produce. Family Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center–meaning we see patient’s with all insurances and even those without insurance. We offer a sliding scale fee for services based on income if you do not have health insurance or cannot afford your insurance’s specific visit copay. We are also working with OHgo on finding grants to cover copays of participants for which that payment would be a barrier.

Though we accept all insurance plans, not all insurance plans cover visits with a dietitian. For example, if your only insurance is Medicare then you will only be covered if you have diabetes or stage 3-5 chronic kidney disease. If you have Medicaid, most diagnoses will be covered. Private insurance varies between plans. Before signing up to the Food Is Medicine Program, you might want to verify that visits will be covered with your insurance. Call the help-line phone # on the back of your insurance card and ask the following questions:

  1. Can you explain my benefits for seeing a registered dietitian for nutrition counseling?
  2. Does this benefit only cover specific conditions – such as diabetes, obesity, etc.? If so, what is included?
  3. Am I covered for any nutrition services if they are coded as preventive services?
  4. Are any diagnoses specifically excluded from my nutrition benefit?
  5. How many visits am I covered for each year?
  6. Do I need a referral? If so, who can make the referral?
  7. Is there a co-pay to see a registered dietitian?
  8. Are preventive services covered? For example, does my plan cover screening or counseling for obesity?
  9. Given my deductible for the year, including co-pays and co-insurance, what will I need to pay out of pocket to see a registered dietitian?

They might ask you for something called a “CPT Code.” If they do, provide them with the following: 97802 & 97803. If you need help, please reach out to us via the contact form and we would be happy to assist you.