Mama’s Kitchen, as part of the California Food is Medicine Coalition, will be implementing a three year state-funded pilot project that will provide medically tailored meals to San Diego Medi-Cal patients living with congestive heart failure. This project will demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of covering customized nutritional support as an essential health benefit through Medi-Cal, and also influence long-term policy change in California and beyond to make it available to the broader Medi-Cal population.
Participants will be high utilizers of health care services who have been on the Medi-Cal system for at least one continuous year, thereby providing a solid base of data for comparison.
Patients will be provided with a medically tailored meal intervention which will include:
- Meals based on nutritional assessment to address medical history, symptoms, allergies, medication management and side effects to ensure the best possible nutrition-related health outcomes.
- A nutritional assessment and monthly consultations with our registered dietitian to support patients in learning to shop, cook and eat healthy food on a budget.
The first phase of the project includes five months of meals (tapering from 100% of required nutrition in month one to 33% of nutrition in month five) along with case management support and nutrition counseling. A research team from UCSF and Stanford University is consulting on the development of the intervention and markers to be evaluated. These markers include emergency department visits, hospital readmissions, and overall cost of providing healthcare.
This project builds on important work done by members of the national Food is Medicine Coalition:
- A study published 2013 shows a 28-32% decline in overall health care costs among patients receiving 100% nutrition for six months from MANNA in Philadelphia: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2150131913490737
- A study published January 2017 shows a 63% drop in hospitalizations and a 50% increase in adherence to medication among Diabetes and/or AIDS/HIV patients receiving 100% nutrition for six months from Project Open Hand: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2017/01/405651/food-medicine-hiv-positive-and-type-2-diabetes-patients
Mama’s Kitchen is very excited to be participating in this important project. It will not only be the first expression of our expanded mission, but it will also strengthen our service focus on the Food is Medicine philosophy. As we have in the past, we will continue to rely on our dedicated volunteer base to deliver meals to these new clients. And as we move to expand our mission beyond this project, we will count on current and new supporters in the community for the necessary resources to serve even more people in need. We look forward to your involvement in this growth.
Alberto Cortés, Executive Director