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A Prescription For Healthy Food & Better Health

posted by Rashi Venkataraman, AHIP Executive Director, Prevention & Population Health

on July 18, 2019

AmeriHealth Caritas works with local grocery chain
to encourage healthy eating

More than 20% of neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., are considered economically challenged, with a vast majority located east of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8. These Wards are deemed a food desert, with only one supermarket in Ward 8 and two in Ward 7. And with a combined population of nearly 150,000 people, the area has some of the highest rates for diabetes and heart disease in the District.

AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia knows that expanding neighborhood access to healthy food can have a major impact on reducing health problems like diabetes and heart disease. The health insurance provider serves more than 100,000 Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the Capitol region and has a long history of supporting community-based organizations to provide social supports to its members.

“AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia is proud to invest in bold, far-reaching collaborations that help us develop interventions aimed at increasing health equity and addressing social determinants of health,” said AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia Market President Karen Dale.

We wanted to build off that rich tradition and design a program that would help improve our members’ access to healthy food, the lack of which can increase the risk of many health problems.

So, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia teamed up with Giant Food, the leading regional grocery chain, to launch a Produce Rx pilot program in collaboration with local nonprofit DC Greens. Through Produce Rx, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia’s Medicaid members with a diet-related chronic illness can get a prescription for fruits and vegetables from their health care provider. Members can fill these prescriptions at the Giant Pharmacy in Southeast Washington, where a Giant pharmacist will provide them a $20 voucher to purchase fresh produce from the grocery store.

The pilot program launched in April 2019 with 500 AmeriHealth Caritas members, and will run through the rest of the year. AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia hopes to expand the program to more members in the future.


AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, a member of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, is a Medicaid managed care health plan dedicated to helping members get care, stay well, and build healthy communities. Headquartered in the District, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia addresses social risk factors impacting health, leverages robust member engagement strategies to increase rates of preventive care, and utilizes programs to support health and wellness for the vulnerable populations it serves. For more information, visit www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com.