INDIANAPOLIS — A network of primary care centers that serve the most vulnerable population in our community are making sure seniors have access to food.
Oak Street Health provides primary care to patients who are on Medicare. They often live in underserved communities, including parts of Indianapolis. In order to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic, Oak Street Health has started delivering groceries right to their doorstep.
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Drivers with Health Park who normally pick up patients for appointments at Oak Street Health are now delivering groceries. The change comes as nearly all patient services have transitioned to visits through telehealth.
The center's community-based outreach team is now doing wellness checks for homebound seniors in need of physical, mental and social health support. One of the biggest needs is access to food.
"Even on good days, even in the best of times through our communities we know we have these vulnerabilities and issues around food and food security," Dr. Charles Miramonti, senior medical director of Community Health, said. "We have been learning from that to know that if we struggle in those times are folks are really having a hard time finding food and their medication and that is what we work around today."
"Well, I'm 92 years old. I have no transportation," Anna Louise Springs said. "So, I'm not able to really get out."
Springs is one of the patients receiving groceries from Oak Street Health, a gesture she appreciates so she can stay safely at home.
"I am grateful," she said. "My Social Security is all spent and I love on Social Security. It's all spent. And I'm hungry."
Oak Street Health is working with local partners like Indiana Black Farmers, the Shepherd Community Center and Cicoa, a non-profit that helps seniors, in order to help provide groceries to their patients.
Oak Street Health can be reached at 844-871-5651, where they also have a COVID-19 hotline that is operating 24/7.