SALEM, Ore.—The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members—applauds the Oregon House of Representatives for passing a landmark bill that would guarantee hospital patients a healthful plant-based option at every meal. The bill now goes to the senate for a vote.
HB 3342, introduced by Oregon State Representative Marty Wilde, aims to improve the health of patients and prisoners by requiring that hospitals, long-term health care facilities, and prisons make plant-based meals available.
“Thanks to the Oregon House of Representatives for passing HB 3342, which would help to ensure hospital patients have access to healthy, plant-based meals that will help them fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
California’s legislature passed a similar bill last year, which the Physicians Committee co-sponsored, and the New York State Assembly has recently done the same. The Physicians Committee’s Healthy Hospital Food web page provides quantity plant-based recipes, tips for implementing plant-based meals, and case studies of hospitals championing healthy food.
In June 2017, the American Medical Association passed a Healthy Food Options in Hospitals resolution that calls on U.S. hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by providing plant-based meals. The American College of Cardiology made the same recommendation in Planting a Seed: Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals.
St. Joseph Health System in Sonoma County, Calif., reports, “Vegetarian entrées cost about 50 percent less than meat entrées.” The hospital projects saving $5,000 a year by serving more meat-free meals.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.