An Overview of Food Insecurity Coding in Health Care Settings: Existing and Emerging Opportunities

Despite the increase in interest and attention to food insecurity in health care settings, available health care terminology and codes to document food insecurity and related activities are both underutilized and under-developed. Promoting and improving opportunities to document assessments and interventions related to food insecurity in electronic health records (EHRs) are critical for:

  • Enabling documentation of food insecurity screening and assessment;
  • Providing comprehensive health care to individual patients experiencing food insecurity;
  • Obtaining population data for clinical resource planning;
  • Improving reimbursement for food insecurity assessment and intervention;
  • Fostering research and quality improvements related to food insecurity; and
  • Sharing food insecurity assessments and interventions with outside entities, including payers, community agencies, and other healthcare providers and health systems.

This report reviews existing and emerging opportunities to document food insecurity screening, assessment, intervention, and billing for each part of a patient visit using discrete codes and language from standardized EHR medical vocabularies.