A local health system will continue its partnership with the Livingston County Health Department in their mutual goal to provide healthy eating choices.

An agreement between the Health Department and Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston received approval from the county’s board of commissioners Monday night. The agreement will maintain the Prescription for Health program, which helps provide access to fruits and vegetables to patients who are at risk for or have a chronic disease.

Essentially a physician writes a prescription referring their patient to the program, and the patient is then enrolled through the health department. Patients receive tokens to spend on fruits and vegetables at participating farmer’s markets and food pantries. The program is valued at $100 per patient, as they receive $10 in tokens for 10 sessions.

However health promotions coordinator Chelsea Moxlow says the program offers more than just access to healthy food. In addition to the tokens, patients also have access to community health workers who provide information about healthy eating, recipes, food storage, and preparation. Moxlow says the education piece is important because it is intended to last participants well beyond the end of the program.

The program is covered in full by Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston as it currently is the only participating clinic. The approved agreement will secure funding for the program’s first year, which it is currently in, as well as the second year. Moxlow says funding for the project is expected to continue in subsequent years, but the agreement will change as the number of participants and the budget changes. (DK)