Our October/November Grand Rounds focused on the SNAP/Food Stamp program. Victoria Negus, an AmeriCorps serving at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, gave a talk about the basics of SNAP/Food Stamp eligibility, the application process, common myths surrounding the program, and the role of health care professionals in fighting hunger in Massachusetts.
Her take-home message for medical students and physicians? SNAP is a key component in gaining access to healthy, nutritious food, and it has been shown to have a positive impact on the health of families and individuals –a fact that is especially important to emphasize in light of the recent ARRA cuts. While SNAP is a complex program whose eligibility is based on many criteria, in the end it boils down to consistently asking low-income patients if they receive SNAP. If they do not, they should then be referred to the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Project Bread, or outreach partners.
Please refer to the very helpful, straightforward, and Massachusetts-specific handbook “Hunger in the Community – Ways Hospitals can Help” for more details about the different ways in which you can help patients get nutritional support.
And here are other resources that Victoria Negus shared… and that we would now like to share with you!
1. Resources for the medical community
a) Project Bread: www.gettingfoodstamps.org
The Food Source Hotline: 1-800-645-8333
**Patients can call this number to be screened for SNAP eligibility**
b) Children’s Health Watch: http://www.childrenshealthwatch.org
The SNAP Vaccine—Boosting Children’s Health
2. General resources
a) 2013 SNAP Advocacy Guide
b) Online resources: MassLegalServices.org and Masslegalhelp.org
c) Food SNAP Coalition: listserv and monthly meetings in Boston –email Victoria Negus at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
d) MCLE Basic Benefits Trainings: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 9:30am – 12:15pm
e) Food Stamps/SNAP client screening through Project Bread: www.gettingfoodstamps.org
**Again, if you would like to receive email updates about SNAP from the MA SNAP Coalition, email Victoria Negus at email@example.com and she will add you to the listserv. Also do not hesitate to contact her if you have any question about the SNAP program!**
Juliette Flam, BUSM, buATP