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Department of Health Recognizes Expansion of Innovative Food Program Supporting 50 Hospitals

09/22/2022

Danville, PA - Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson today recognized fifty hospitals in 26 counties for creating a culture of health by offering nutritious foods and beverages to patients, employees and visitors, and promoting locally-sourced and sustainably-produced products. 

Dr. Johnson joined leaders from Philadelphia and the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) to recognize the 50 hospitals participating in the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program.  

“The Department of Health is proud to partner with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania to implement food service guidelines to help ensure better nutrition is available daily for thousands of patients, employees and visitors at hospitals throughout the state,” said Dr. Johnson. “We commend those who have committed to adopting and further innovating this program that gives access to healthy, local food to so many people. Healthy food is an important tool in both healing and preventing illness.” 

Healthcare facilities participating in Good Food, Healthy Hospitals pledge to voluntarily adopt food, beverage and procurement standards in all areas where food is purchased, served or sold. These standards include, among others:

·       indicating vegetarian, heart healthy, and whole grain options on patient menus

·       placing healthier beverages and snacks at eye level for consumers

·       prominently displaying nutrition information of foods and beverages

·       replacing regular fried chips with baked varieties

·       promoting water as a healthy and necessary beverage choice throughout the hospital

·       purchasing locally-sourced and sustainably-raised foods where possible

·       purchasing rBGH-free dairy products

The hospitals work closely with the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals team, including the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), the Pennsylvania Department of Health and HAP, for technical assistance and collaboration with participating hospitals. 

“We strive to promote healthy, livable communities,” said PDPH Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “The hospitals participating in the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals Initiative have demonstrated that you can make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to eat a nutritious diet. It’s this type of leadership and investment that is making our hospitals safer, healthier places.” 

Started in 2014, the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals initiative continues to expand. WellSpan Health, Endless Mountain Health Systems, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital (Jefferson Health), Geisinger Medical Center Muncy, and St. Luke’s Carbon and Easton Campuses have signed the pledge for a total of 50 participating hospitals located in 26 counties across the commonwealth. In Philadelphia, 15 hospitals continue implementing the program’s food service guidelines. 

“Hospitals do more than treat illnesses and injuries — they partner with patients and their communities for better health,” said Andy Carter, president and CEO of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. “HAP is proud to support Pennsylvania hospitals’ efforts toward better access to nutritious food, more educated food choices, and healthier patients and communities through the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program.” 

The expansion across Pennsylvania is made possible by the State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Program grant and Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Pennsylvania was one of 16 states awarded the SPAN grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018. 

More information on healthy eating can be found on the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov 

For more information about Good Food, Healthy Hospitals, visit www.foodfitphilly.org/gfhh/ 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Mark O’Neill, DOH ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov 


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