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TMCNet:  Health Partners Plans to Share Groundbreaking Food is Medicine Partnership at Tulane University Culinary Medicine Conference

[June 12, 2018]

Health Partners Plans to Share Groundbreaking Food is Medicine Partnership at Tulane University Culinary Medicine Conference

As food is medicine programs continue to gain traction across the country, they are also earning credibility at medical schools, some of which are beginning to explore the benefits of medically tailored meals through culinary coursework. As one of the nation's pioneers in the food is medicine movement, Health Partners Plans (HPP) is proud to share how it launched a program in this emerging field at the "Health Meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference," hosted by Tulane University's School of Medicine. At the event, held June 14-17 in New Orleans, HPP, represented by President and CEO William S. George, and its food is medicine partner, the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), will share how the organizations created the first-of-its-kind partnership in Pennsylvania. The nation's most respected and innovative medical, nutrition and culinary experts will be in attendance to examine the nexus between nutrition and good health.

Mr. George will discuss the results of the Pennsylvania-based managed care organization's groundbreaking partnership with MANNA, a nonprofit organization that designs, prepares and delivers nutritious, medically appropriate meals to people battling life-threatening illnesses. HPP partnered with MANNA, the first agency to publish peer-reviewed research on the impact of medically tailored meals on health care costs, to integrate its evidence-based food is medicine model into HPP's holistic care management approach. The partnership provides MANNA's medically tailored meals to HPP's most chronically ill Medicaid and Medicare members who receive three meals a day, seven days a week for several cycles - at no cost to them. 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 in the nation to implement it on a large scale.

"Food insecurity remains a substantial barrier to health care for far too many people," said Mr. George. "We are proud to be a national leader in the battle against food insecurity and other social determinants for the most vulnerable health care recipients. And we're honored to share our experience about this successful partnership, which resulted in improved health outcomes and lower health care costs."

Mr. George will be joined by MANNA CEO Sue Daugherty, who will discuss the benefits of therapeutic nutrition and MANNA's history of providing nourishing meals to those with serious illnesses.

"Research shows the medical benefits of therapeutic nutrition," said Ms. Daugherty. "nd our meals, with modifications for 11 different diets, bring nourishment, life, health and hope to those in need."

Since the partnership's inception in 2015, more than 560,000 MANNA meals have been delivered to more than 2,100 HPP members suffering from various illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition and kidney failure. The findings, for the population that ended services at least six months ago, show lower HbA1c scores for 26 percent of diabetic members and decreased utilization and costs for inpatient admissions and emergency room visits. Results also show an overall medical cost reduction of 19 percent on a per member per month basis.

To learn more about this food is medicine model that is alleviating chronic diseases and lowering health care costs, read the published call to action paper.

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 281,000 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh/Capital region. 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 HealthPartnersPlans.com, twitter.com/HPPlans and facebook.com/healthpartnersplans.

About MANNA

Founded in 1990 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis, in 2006 MANNA expanded eligibility criteria to include anyone battling a severe illness where diet would play a significant role in healing, and began offering comprehensive nutrition to each client in 2008. Over the years, MANNA has embraced innovation and evolved into a nationally recognized, evidence-based model that improves health outcomes for people with any serious illness while also reducing the cost of care. The MANNA Model consists of 21 medically tailored meals per week coupled with nutrition counseling provided by a registered dietitian and is an effective health intervention grounded in the latest nutrition science. In 2013, MANNA published the first peer-reviewed research documenting the impact of medical nutrition therapy and home-delivered medically tailored meals as part of medical treatment. Learn more about MANNA's innovated approach to nutrition at mannapa.org, twitter.com/MANNANourishes, and facebook.com/mannapa.


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