Health Care Service Corporation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Institute will be delivering meals to 15 South and East Dallas zip codes to address some of the social determinants that impact health outcomes. The service is called foodQ, and is meant to address food deserts where access to healthy food is less common.
Anyone in the included zip codes can participate, regardless of whether they are a Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan carrier. Residents can go to the foodQ website and choose healthy ready-to-eat lunch and dinner options that will be delivered to their door. A $10 subscription will get residents free delivery and a free meal with every purchased meal. Individual meals are $10 with a $6 delivery fee. Dallas deliveries start in April.
Throughout the pilot, HCSC and the BCBS Institute will study how the meals impact hospital and emergency room visits. The targeted zip codes include Pleasant Grove, Far East Dallas, Oak Cliff, Northwest Dallas, Northeast Dallas, Vickery Meadows, and Cedars, which are often included in lists of food desserts, though the City of Dallas doesn’t consider many of these areas food desert. Surprisingly, 75206 and 75214, affluent areas near Lakewood and the M Streets with numerous grocery stores, were also included in the list.
“Food deserts are one of the key social determinants of health impacting millions of Americans,” said Manika Turnbull, vice president and community health and economic impact officer, HCSC via release. “With this program we are meeting people where they live to provide access, affordable pricing and education that can influence healthy behaviors, reduce health disparities and improve their quality of life.”
“We know a ZIP code is just as important as a genetic code in determining a person’s health – impacting medical needs and access to care,” said Dr. Trent Haywood, president, BCBS Institute via release. “As a physician, I know I can easily write a prescription, but what I don’t know is how am I going to make sure patients have access to healthy meals they can afford and want to eat. With the alarming rates of obesity and diabetes in our country, we need a different approach to supporting healthy living, and this pilot program can help remove the barriers that keep people from accessing healthy, affordable and nutritious foods.”
See the whole list of zip codes below, and visit the foodq here.