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Hospitals Going The Extra Mile To Help People Get Better, Healthier

Update Date: Feb 23, 2017 07:30 AM EST

In recent years, people have gone to hospitals to receive immediate medical attention for their different health problems and conditions. Once the hospitals and doctors have done their medical part, patients are then given medication and other instructions to go back to being well or healthy. The symptoms may have been cured but the cause of the health condition often remains unresolved.

These days however, some health institutions have become more accountable in caring for their patients and are looking at other ways to serve them better. USA Today cited some hospitals that have looked into different ways to help their patients get well.

A Diabetic's Dilemma

Diabetes has no cure, it can only be managed. Tom Shinowich once faced the challenge of getting a healthier diet for his condition. The 56-year-old went through an amputation and was in debt. Working at a grocery store only afforded him meager meals.

Geisinger Health System knows helping patients with diabetes require more than pills. They need lifestyle changes and healthier diet choices, which is why the hospital came up with the Fresh Food Pharmacy program.

The program provides healthier food items to diabetic patients to help them get the appropriate body mass index, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and lessen required medication.

Under the program Shinowich got free healthy groceries which helped him lose weight and lowered his blood sugar level from 11 to 7, closer to normal levels.

The Social Determinants of Health

A well-established name in the healthcare industry, Kaiser Permanente wants to redefine 'health care' to include the social component that most hospitals normally don't consider when treating patients.

Nirav Shah, Kaiser COO in southern California and former state health commissioner in New York gave a sobering analogy: the 23 percent of the company's health spending is spent on only 1 percent of its members, where the members paid $12,000 per year and Kaiser spent $98,000.

Kaiser employees call these people to see how they can help, not just with their health problems but in general, including getting food, paying utility bills or finding a new home.

This may not seem a lot but according to the Huffington Post, social circumstances affects health and while there's a need for more research to identify what these effects are and their impact, addressing patients' social concerns helps in their recovery in general.

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