Food & Health Policy

Engaging healthcare and policy leaders to change the way America feeds the sick.

The Need for Medically Tailored Meals

We believe that food is powerful medicine. Malnutrition is a costly, prevalent problem for the healthcare system and studies show that access to nutritious meals improves health outcomes, lowers healthcare costs, and improves the quality of patient care.

MALNOURISHMENT

At least 1 in 3 patients enters the hospital malnourished.

HEALTHCARE COST

Healthcare costs for malnourished patients are up to 3x higher than costs for properly nourished patients.

LENGTH OF HOSPITAL STAY

Hospital stays for malnourished patients are up to 3x longer than for properly nourished patients.

Medically tailored, home-delivered meals are a low-cost, high-value service for severely ill patients which is why we advocate for the integration of medically tailored meals and supportive nutrition services into public and private healthcare models.

Partnering with Healthcare Providers & Payers

As a HIPAA compliant program, we have partnered with innovative healthcare payers since 2014. We are contracted to provide medically tailored meals to individuals enrolled in Managed Care programs, Senior Care Options and One Care plans, programs within Accountable Care Organizations, and pilot programs for individuals who receive clinical services within home-base settings – all serving high-cost, high-needs patients.

Research

We measure the return on investment for the provision of medically tailored meals through healthcare payment models. Data from our research projects is instrumental in building the evidence base and furthering our work and that of the broader Food is Medicine field.

Impact of Medically Tailored Meals on Food Insecure Diabetic Patients

Our medically tailored meals for diabetic patients with food insecurity study, examining whether our meal intervention changed diabetic patients’ diet in a way that showed improved health, was published in the Journal for General Internal Medicine. The study was funded by BCBS of MA and BNY Mellon. Results showed that diabetic patients who received our medically tailored meals ate more vegetables, fruits, & whole grains, & decreased their consumption of fats & added sugars. Read the study abstract.

Evaluating Impact of Medically Tailored Meals Provided Through Health Insurance

Our health insurance claims data study, evaluating the impact of medically tailored meals provided through health insurance, was funded by AARP Foundation and undertaken in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and Commonwealth Care Alliance. The study looked at healthcare claims data of CCA patients who received our medically tailored meals compared against control groups with similar demographics, and demonstrated a 16% net reduction in average monthly healthcare costs for patients who received Community Servings’ meals. The study was published in the April 2018 issue of the journal Health Affairs. Learn more about the study and the results.

Evaluating the Food is Medicine Approach on Health

This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Evidence for Action” funded study evaluates the Food is Medicine approach on health. The project studies the impact of Community Servings’ medically tailored meals program on healthcare expenditures, inpatient hospitalizations, and ER visits in severely and nutritionally vulnerable adults. Dr. Seth Berkowitz from MGH will serve as co-primary investigator along with Jean Terranova, Community Servings’ Director of Food & Health Policy. Other key partners include a secondary researcher from the Mongan Institute Health Policy Center and the MA Department of Health. Results of the 30-month project are expected in summer of 2019.

Statewide Plan

Recognizing the value of Food is Medicine interventions among the nutritionally vulnerable, Community Servings has partnered with The Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School to launch the Massachusetts Food is Medicine Statewide Plan. The plan, funded in part by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, aims to increase access to medically tailored Food is Medicine interventions across the state by convening healthcare providers, payers, and policy leaders and conducting cutting-edge research over the next year. To learn more or get involved, visit the Massachusetts Food is Medicine Statewide Plan webpage or view our video below.

National Advocacy

Community Servings serves as a member of the Food is Medicine Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit, medically tailored food and nutrition services providers from across the country. The goal of the Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) is to advocate for public policy that supports access to food and nutrition services for people with critical and chronic illnesses. Learn more about the FIMC and how to get involved.

×
Log in

×
Subscribe for news