Frequently asked questions

We're sharing our information about The Fresh Food Farmacy to increase the number of similar programs across the country.

How the program works

Why does Geisinger offer this program?  
We offer a holistic approach to our patients and for those with food insecurity. We believe it is the right thing to do medically, socially and financially.

Why did you decide to start this program? 
Geisinger recognized a need within our patient population. Food insecurity is a common problem affecting 1 in 8 adults in America, 1 in 7 adults in Pennsylvania, and in some of our communities, ultimately affecting 30-60 percent of our patients. 

How do patients enroll? 
We screen our patients for Type 2 diabetes, over 18 years of age, with sugars out of control typified by HBA1C higher than 8.0. If the patients are able to participate in the education part of the program we then refer to the dietician and they begin the program. 

How is the program staffed? 
The program consists of nurse health managers, dietitians, health coaches and a pharmacist. 

How important is patient education?
It’s paramount. Program patients can participate in free diabetes wellness classes, dietary consultations and workshops to address healthy eating and diabetes challenges.

What is your targeted patient volume per location? 

Our goal is to treat 250 patients/households per week. One average that translates to feeding 750-1,000 people each week.

Do you have a Fresh Food Farmacy at each hospital?
No. The Fresh Food Farmacy is currently located at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital with plans for future expansion in central Pennsylvania.


Food and nutrition

Who provides the food and how much is donated/sourced, etc.?
Food is purchased from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and from retail stores including Weis Markets. 

What types of foods do you offer?
Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. We use the plate method and provide guidance on menu planning and recipes.  

Is the food tailored to the patient’s medical condition?

Yes. All of our food is diabetes appropriate. 

How often does a patient receive food?
Weekly. 

What is the role of the food bank in your partnership?
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank provides about 80 percent of our food at low cost. 

How much food do you provide a patient?
We provide enough food for the patient and all household members for two meals a day, five days of the week.

Outcomes

What outcomes have you seen?
We’ve seen significant improvements in blood sugars, HBA1C, cholesterol and blood pressure control. 

How are you measuring return on investment?

Improvements in HBA1C translate to improved diabetes management which will result in fewer complications in the long term. 

Is the model scalable?
Yes! We think so. There are many people in need of this program.