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President and CEO William S. George Invited to Present Innovative Food Access Program at Harvard University

Health Partners Plans Showcases Significant Results of Improved Member Health at Harvard University Food is Medicine Symposium

Philadelphia, PA—On Friday, October 21, Health Partners Plans (HPP) President and CEO William S. George will speak at Harvard University about the groundbreaking food access partnership he founded. As one of the 15 highest-rated Medicaid plans in the country according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2016–2017, the Pennsylvania-based managed care organization has seen significant success through a first-of-its-kind collaboration with a Philadelphia-based nonprofit food access program, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA). The unique program addresses the lack of nutrition and affordability of healthy foods for its most chronically ill Medicaid members. In response to the significant health improvement demonstrated through the program, Mr. George was invited by Massachusetts-based food and nutrition organization Community Servings and Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation to participate in its Food is Medicine Symposium. 

As one of the few hospital-owned health plans in the country, HPP is nationally recognized for its innovative, nimble approach to health care. Mr. George will discuss how partnering with MANNA to “prescribe” medically tailored food to its members has improved health outcomes while proving to be a cost effective health care model. 

This holistic approach to improving health outcomes is unprecedented in the health care industry. HPP’s partnership with MANNA provides three healthy meals a day for seven days a week to members with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and malnutrition. The food is prepared and distributed to members’ doorsteps—at no cost to them. HPP also provides vital nutrition counseling and comprehensive care management to teach members how to better handle their illness independently.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to use a natural approach to help our members live healthier and manage their diets one meal at a time, which alleviates a costly and physically challenging burden as they battle their illness,” says President and CEO William S. George. “Our hope is that other health care organizations in the state and the country will follow our lead and try this transformative approach to healing because it works.”

Early program results substantiate the food is medicine model is improving HPP members’ health. HbA1c diabetic testing obtained before and after members received MANNA meals revealed that more than one third of individuals’ HbA1c levels have meaningfully decreased, which indicates better diabetes control. That decrease is up to 50 percent for some members. Additionally, 100 percent of those participating in the program recently reported that the food met their medical needs and enabled them to make healthier food choices.

More than 1,100 Health Partners Plans members have benefited from this revolutionary collaboration. To date, nearly 260,000 medically nutritious meals have been “prescribed” by HPP care management staff and prepared and delivered by MANNA. The partnership is also building bridges over obstacles to improved health. Nearly 60 percent of members receiving MANNA meals do not have enough money or other assistance to buy the food they need. The program tackles this social determinant, while improving health outcomes.

“It helps me to make better choices—I’m not selecting; it’s done for me,” an HPP member notes. “When I’m feeling weak or sick, I don’t have to struggle—[I] just use the microwave,” the member adds.

“When no other health plan figured out how to make this work, Health Partners Plans showed commitment and made it happen,” says Susan Daugherty, CEO of MANNA. “I am so excited that HPP stepped up to the plate. This move is groundbreaking and I truly believe it will change the delivery of comprehensive health care on a national level.”

Nationally recognized for its innovations in managed care, Health Partners Plans is among the top fifteen Medicaid plans in the country, one of the highest-rated in Pennsylvania and receives strong ratings for member and provider satisfaction according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2016–2017. Health Partners Plans is a not-for-profit managed health care organization serving more than 271,000 members in Greater Southeastern Pennsylvania. It provides a broad range of health coverage options through Health Partners Medicare, Health Partners (Medicaid) and KidzPartners (Children’s Health Insurance Program) plans. Founded more than 30 years ago, Health Partners Plans is one of the few hospital-owned health plans in the country. Learn more about how Health Partners Plans is doing it right at, and

Monet T. Irving
Manager, Corporate Communications