At MANNA we know that what we do is important and impactful. By nourishing nutritionally compromised people who are battling life-threatening illnesses, we improve our clients’ health and increase the quality and stability of their lives. MANNA is committed to fighting for the well-being of our neighbors when they need it most. Through our advocacy efforts we want to spread this knowledge; we want our community, elected leaders and public officials to understand the importance of MANNA’s “Food is Medicine” model. Furthermore, we want our efforts to contribute to a change in the healthcare sector that recognizes MANNA’s work, and the work of similar organizations across the country, as a standard of care, rather than a niche service.
Why the MANNA Model?
The MANNA model combines Medical Nutrition Therapy with medically appropriate home-delivered meals to support better health outcomes and significantly reduce costs for the health care system by keeping patients in their homes rather than in hospitals or nursing homes. But it comes down to more than costs—food is a basic need. When MANNA provides meals, we help free the patient to focus on the task of getting better while providing the best fuel to do so. More than a simple meal, we provide nourishment and a sense of community at a time of need.
Health insurance will often pay for medical treatment but will not assist with food access, delivery, or nutrition counseling. When it is covered, there are many limitations to obtaining these lifesaving services. As a result, tens of thousands of dollars are spent each month on hospital visits and medical care when illnesses are exacerbated by poor nutrition.
MANNA’s evidence-based nutrition intervention has demonstrated improved health, decreased stress, increased food intake, increased nutritional literacy, and reduced medical costs for our clients and insurance companies. The time is now to engage community-based interventions to revolutionize the health care system, improve health outcomes and lower the overall cost burden for the Philadelphia region.
MANNA’s research, published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, showed that over the course of a year MANNA clients accumulated an average of almost $12,000 less in medical expenses per month.
- Ensure access to food & nutrition services for people living with HIV/AIDS
- Expand access to services for people living with other life-threatening illnesses
- Increase the public’s understanding of the need for food & nutrition services
The Food Is Medicine Coalition
Who is the Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC)?
A volunteer association of nonprofit, medically-tailored food and nutrition services (FNS) providers all across the country seeking to preserve and expand coverage of FNS for the critically-ill clients that we serve.
What are food and nutrition services (FNS)?
Food and nutrition services include medical nutritional therapy (MNT) and the tailored food that accompanies it. MNT covers nutritional diagnostic, therapy, and counseling services focused on prevention, delay or management of diseases and conditions, and involves an in-depth assessment, periodic reassessment and intervention provided by a licensed, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) outside of a primary care visit. Medically tailored food encompass home-delivered meals, congregate meals, grocery bags, food pantries and vouchers that complement and are necessary to the fulfillment of MNT.
Our Policy Goals:
• First, we are committed to ensuring and expanding access to food and nutrition programs for people living with HIV/AIDS through the Ryan White Treatment and Modernization Act.
• Second, we are working hard to incorporate food and nutrition services (FNS) for people with severe illness in the major programs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
• Through the HIV/AIDS Bureau’s (HAB) Division of Policy and Data, monitor and track provision of FNS and relate it to health outcomes and cost savings, reporting on this annually, to demonstrate the nationwide impact of this program.
• Through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HAB, Division of HIV/AIDS Training and Capacity Development, develop and implement trainings on the importance of FNS for PLWHA for all Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees. Training should include a discussion of the use of FNS as a core medical service and options for funding FNS through Ryan White.
The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion
• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) should encourage inclusion of medically tailored FNS for severe disease populations, including PLWHA, in new applications or applications for extension of Medicaid 1115 Waivers.
• Work with CMS to issue a state Medicaid Director letter on the importance of incorporating FNS referrals into discharge and care planning for high-risk, high-need populations, including PLWHA.
• Encourage states to develop systems that enable providers and plans to report on receipt of FNS and cross-tab FNS data with key quality measures including health outcomes, cost of care, and patient satisfaction.
• Work with CMS, CDC, and SAMHSA to encourage innovative Medicaid payment and delivery models that include structural supports like FNS for high-risk, high-need populations, including PLWHA.
• Encourage adoption of FNS as a service (whether support or core medical) for PLWHA in Eligible Metropolitan Areas (EMAs) and Transitional Grant Areas (TGAs)
MANNA study: Opportunities in public and private health care for supporting nutritional counseling and medically-tailored, home-delivered meals
Community Servings Study : medically tailored, home-delivered meals can improve health outcomes for people with critical and chronic disease
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Help us advocate for better support for food as medicine services and a greater awareness and understanding of the issue.