September 6, 2018
Health Partners Plans Featured in The New York Times and National News Media for Its Pioneering Food Is Medicine Program
Philadelphia, PA — As the nation struggles to address social determinants of health, Health Partners Plans (HPP) has been featured by national news media, including The New York Times, for pioneering a food is medicine partnership that is successfully tackling food insecurity as a barrier to health.
Since 2015 HPP, a Pennsylvania-based managed care organization, has partnered with the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) to provide medically tailored meals to its most chronically ill Medicaid and Medicare members. The results of this groundbreaking partnership, which serves as a model for the health care industry, show improved health outcomes for members and reduced medical costs.
To date more than 610,500 meals have been delivered to more than 2,400 members suffering from life-threatening illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition and kidney failure, at no cost to them. The latest findings, for the population that ended services at least six months ago, show lower blood glucose levels for 26 percent of diabetic members and decreased utilization and costs for inpatient admissions, primary care physician, specialist and emergency room visits. Results also show an overall medical cost reduction of 19 percent on a per member per month basis.
These dramatic results captured the attention of the nation’s leading health care reporters and editors, beginning with Phil Galewitz, a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News (KHN), a nonprofit news service that covers national health issues. Galewitz partnered with the Philadelphia NPR affiliate, WHYY, to develop a feature story, “Rx: Zucchini, Brown Rice, Turkey Soup. Medicaid Plan Offers Food as Medicine,” first published on June 22. This compelling story garnered the interest of national news media, including The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, The Philadelphia Inquirer and more than 20 other media outlets which published the full article.
Two months later, a New York Times reporter interviewed William S. George, President and CEO of Health Partners Plans, for a story she was writing titled “If Food Is Medicine, These are the Labs,” published August 21.
“I think Health Partners Plans has been in the national spotlight because chronic illness has been a costly and intractable problem in the United States, as traditional methods of care don’t always work for those who lack housing, transportation or food,” Mr. George said. “Since our medically tailored meals have succeeded in improving people’s health and reducing medical costs, we have become a national leader and hope to inspire policymakers and the health care industry to adopt the food is medicine model.”
ABOUT HEALTH PARTNERS PLANS
Health Partners Plans, an innovative not-for-profit managed care organization, is the only Medicaid plan in Pennsylvania and is among just 11 Medicaid plans nationwide with an accreditation status of Excellent as of September 26, 2017. This is the highest status bestowed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Health Partners Plans serves more than 280,000 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It provides a broad range of health coverage options through its 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 HealthPartnersPlans.com, twitter.com/HPPlans and facebook.com/healthpartnersplans.
Monet T. Irving
Director, Corporate Communications