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Comments Still Open for USDA Proposal Allowing Nonprofit Home Health and Hospice Agencies to Establish Food Purchasing and Delivery Services

Earlier this summer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) submitted a proposed rule that would allow homebound, older Americans and disabled persons to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase groceries through purchase and delivery services run by government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The goal is to provide greater access to healthy food for those who cannot travel to the grocery store.

A recent blog post on the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) website highlights that nonprofit home health and hospice providers would be among the eligible organizations able to establish food purchasing and delivery services for SNAP-eligible clients. As the blog notes, “this change will enable home health and hospice agencies to help improve the nutritional and health status of patients, particularly those suffering from chronic and other diseases known to be impacted by diet.”

In addition, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service will soon begin seeking up to 20 food purchasing and delivery services to participate in a one year pilot program. Lessons learned during the pilot will used to help shape the final rule.

Comments on the proposed rule will continue to be accepted until September 14, 2015. To view a fact sheet outlining USDA’s proposals to support older Americans, please visit the USDA website

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