February 28, 2018
Health Partners Plans Publishes Results of Groundbreaking Food as Medicine Program in Call to Action
Report Outlines How Food Access Improves Health Outcomes and Lowers Medical Costs
Plan Achieves Milestone, More than 530,000 Meals Delivered
Philadelphia, PA — Health Partners Plans (HPP), a Pennsylvania-based managed care organization, has published a call to action detailing the success of its groundbreaking partnership with the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) to provide medically tailored meals to HPP’s most chronically ill Medicaid and Medicare members. Since the program’s inception, more than 530,000 meals have been delivered to more than 2,000 members suffering from various illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition and kidney failure.
Though chronic disease is preventable, each year 75 percent of the nation’s annual health care costs are for people with one or more chronic health conditions. The economic toll for medical care and productivity loss amounts to $1.3 trillion a year and threatens to reach $6 trillion by 2050.
At a time when these alarming statistics are challenging Congress and the health care industry to devise innovative approaches to address chronic illnesses and the associated costs, the HPP/MANNA partnership pioneered a food as medicine program, serving as a national model for the health care industry. The results demonstrate improved health outcomes for members and reduced medical costs.
“It is our hope that our findings and the groundwork provided in this paper will inspire policymakers, government institutions, and most especially, the health care industry to adopt the food as medicine model into the health care system to alleviate chronic diseases and conditions and lower health care costs associated with treating such illnesses,” said Health Partners Plans President and CEO William S. George.
Since poor nutrition is a leading cause of chronic illness for some of its members, in 2015 HPP partnered with MANNA, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit nutrition organization, to integrate MANNA’s evidence-based food as medicinemodel into HPP’s holistic care management approach. HPP was the first and only health plan to support this endeavor in Pennsylvania at the time and among one of the few managed care organizations to implement it on a large scale.
“After hearing about the research on MANNA’s impact that was published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, Bill George was intrigued. And when no other health plan figured out how to make this work, Health Partners Plans showed commitment and made it happen,” said Susan Daugherty, CEO of MANNA.
The latest findings indicate that this innovative program has improved health outcomes and proven to be a cost-effective health care model. Statistics 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.
HPP members, who are medically vulnerable, receive three meals a day for seven days a week. They also receive nutrition counseling and comprehensive care management to enable them to manage their illness independently.
To read the paper, “Food as Medicine Model, a Framework for Improving Member Health Outcomes and Lowering Health Costs,” please visit HealthPartnersPlans.com/foodasmedicine.
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 284,000 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh/Capital region. 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 32 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