For many hospital patients, the food they are served is like adding insult to injury. And if you happen to be a hospitalized vegan or vegetarian, your options might indeed be very bleak. Fortunately, the U.S. Vegan Climate ETF is trying to change that. They are pressuring hospitals to provide plant-based options at every meal for patients, in vending machines and in the cafeterias frequented by staff, visitors and outpatients.

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The U.S. Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN) represents nearly $65 million in assets under management. It’s sent shareholder proposals to the board of directors at Centene, Elevance Health, HCA Healthcare, Molina Healthcare and United Health Group (UNH) regarding making vegan food widely available in hospitals. The ETF’s advisor, Beyond Investing LLC, wants these proposals to be included in the proxy statements these companies will send to shareholders as they prepare for their 2023 annual meetings.

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“We launched VEGN to be a force for good and a means for investors to use their capital to effect positive change,” said Claire Smith, CEO of Beyond Investing. “We call on other shareholders in these companies to support our proposed resolutions and bring about better health outcomes for patients and improve these companies’ bottom lines.”

In the meantime, the Vegetarian Resource Group has written this helpful guide for hospitalized vegans. The ETF’s strategy is not just to support veg hospital patients, but emphasizes that plant-based food is a healthier choice for patients in general. Afterall, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has proclaimed that plant-based diets help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. The World Health Organization classifies processed meat as carcinogenic to humans and deems it a major contributor to colorectal cancer.

Furthermore, using hospitalization as a teachable moment to improve health habits, including a better diet, could actually save hospitals money. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, under the Affordable Care Act, reduces the amount of money hospitals get if patients are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged from a previous hospital stay. Eating better, such as sticking to a plant-based, whole food diet, is one of many ways people can improve their health.

Via Beyond Investing

Lead image via Beyond Investing