Highmark BCBSWNY and Buffalo Go Green Unveil Mobile Market
Friday, April 21, 2023
Highmark BCBSWNY and Buffalo Go Green Unveil Mobile Market
Will Increase Access to Fresh Food for Community Members who Need it Most
Buffalo, N.Y. (April 20, 2022) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York (BCBSWNY) and Buffalo Go Green, today unveiled the Highmark Mobile Market, which will support a fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVRx) that provides access to healthy food for tens of thousands of Buffalo’s underserved.
Made possible by a Highmark BCBSWNY Blue Fund Grant awarded in 2021, the unit will target the 12% of Buffalo residents considered food insecure by meeting people where they are to provide locally sourced produce and ready-to-eat FreshTake Meals. This includes select Buffalo neighborhoods, community and health centers, farmers markets and special events.
“Unfortunately, food is a major social determinant of health. In our WNY community there is much work to be done to mitigate and irradicate food injustice, food insecurity and health disparities. We are fortunate to have a strong urban farming community and a strong network of organizations working diligently to improve the quality of life for all. Buffalo Go Green’s partnership and support from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is a shining example of how to implement positive change,” said Allison DeHonney, executive director, Buffalo Go Green.
This is one of Highmark BCBSWNY’s many partnerships aimed toward addressing social determinants of health, including the disparity in access to healthy food options for families living in food apartheid neighborhoods. Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people live, work, learn, and play that can impact up to 80% of an individual’s health outcomes before the health care system can intervene.
“The tragic May 14 shooting exposed a generations-old food insecurity crisis that so many of our community members face,” said Dr. Michael Edbauer, President, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “Every person deserves to have equitable access to fresh food— there is a link between food and health.” We’re proud to invest in and partner with impactful organizations like Buffalo Go Green to remove some of the barriers that prevent many from living productive, healthy lives.”
In support of FVRx, the Highmark Mobile Market will also visit health clinics, including Niagara Steet Pediatrics, Broadway Pediatrics, and Community Health Centers of Buffalo, each week. Patients will receive $5 vouchers to use alongside SNAP/EBT benefits to purchase produce. Additionally, SNAP and EBT benefits will be doubled for all participants as part of Double Up Food Bucks NYS, which helps qualifying individuals bring home more healthy foods for less. A full schedule is available at buffalogogreen.org.
“Improving access to healthy, nutritious food in a dignified manner is essential for every City of Buffalo resident,” stated Mayor Byron W. Brown. “The new Highmark Mobile Market is a great step in creating a healthier and more equitable community by providing people with increased access to affordable and healthy food. I thank Highmark BCBSWNY’s Dr. Michael Edbauer and Buffalo Go Green for their commitment to make this happen.”
Nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and gardening classes are major elements of the Highmark Mobile Market and will be offered to children throughout the community through the Police Athletic League and Passport to the World Club.
Highmark Inc. has launched several initiatives across its four-state footprint as part of its "Food as Health" strategy around food insecurity as it relates to overall health. This includes a medically tailored meals pilot program and an innovative SDOH screening tool.
In total, the health plan invested over $7 million in 2022 to improve the health, wellness and resilience of families, individuals, and communities across its Western and Northeastern New York markets.
About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is a trade name of Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Since 1936, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs nearly 1,400 people and serves as a key economic driver in the region. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield contributes significantly to organizations that strengthen and enrich the health of the community.
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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or Highmark Blue Shield are Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and/or Part D plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal.
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Delaware: Highmark BCBSD Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
West Virginia: Highmark West Virginia Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Health Insurance Company or Highmark Senior Solutions Company. Visit our website to view the Access Plan required by the Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act. You may also request a copy by contacting us at the number on the back of your ID card.
Western NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Northeastern NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield.
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