Connection Between Food Insecurity and Nutrition Risk
Food insecurity and malnutrition are interconnected conditions that impair patient health, worsen outcomes, exacerbate chronic health concerns, and burden our healthcare system. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the extent to which different population groups across the US experience and receive necessary care and interventions for these conditions. Many patients who present with malnutrition may also be food insecure—and vice versa. Identification of food insecurity or malnutrition can and should inform evaluation for the other condition and be managed in tandem. Improved identification of malnutrition and food insecurity risk factors in hospitals and other healthcare institutions can inform more effective and timely interventions as well as begin to address health disparities and improve health for all communities.
Getting Started with Food Insecurity and Nutrition Risk Screening
To integrate screening for food insecurity as part of your malnutrition quality improvement project, consider the following steps to get started and the associated resources that follow:
Step 1: Identify patient population(s) for screening
Step 2: Choose screening tools for food insecurity and nutrition risk
Step 3: Determine workflow including necessary interventions and follow-up
Beginning in 2022, eligible clinicians can implement and report on a MIPS Improvement Activity (IA) focused on this workflow through CMS’ Quality Payment Program. Read more information about the MIPS IA on this MQii webpage.
Food Insecurity and Nutrition Risk Screening Workflows
The screening and intervention workflows below outline the recommended steps for screening for food insecurity and/or nutrition risk and providing resources and appropriate care for those at risk. More details on the available resources are provided below. We encourage you to review the resources on this website and share the decision support tool below with your multidisciplinary healthcare team members.
Resources to support you and your colleagues in caring for patients experiencing or at risk for malnutrition throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
These materials were developed by the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii), a project of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Avalere, and other stakeholders who provided guidance and expertise through a collaborative partnership. Support provided by Abbott.