The New York State Senate recently passed a landmark bill that would guarantee hospital patients a plant-based option at every meal. Bill S1471—introduced by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried—requires New York hospitals to make available plant-based meals and snacks to patients and ensures that hospitals list the vegan options on all written materials and menus. “The New York Senate’s passage of S1471 is an important step that could soon help hospital patients across the state understand the power of a plant-based diet to fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” Susan Levin, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. In September, California passed similar legislation which requires hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and other state facilities to provide at least one plant-based meal option. In 2017, the American Medical Association issued a resolution that calls on all hospitals across the nation to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by providing plant-based meals. Last year, vegan Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams worked with New York City health officials to launch The Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program at medical system NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue that focuses on plant-based nutrition instead of prescription medication to treat and prevent illness—an initiative which spurred all 11 of the NYC Health + Hospitals to adopt Meatless Mondays in January.
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