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The White House and Food is Medicine Coalition put out information on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Priorities- we're sharing it here.
The food is medicine coalition (fimc) is a national coalition of nonprofits focused on the intersection of nutrition and healthcare, delivering medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling and education to people of all ages in communities across the country living with multiple illnesses at once.
Medically tailored meals (MTMs) are delivered to individuals through a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan. Meal plans are tailored to the medical needs of the recipient by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and are designed to improve health outcomes, lower cost of care and increase patient satisfaction. The Clinical Committee of FIMC, made up of credentialled RDNs from across the country, establishes and regularly updates the FIMC Medically Tailored Meal Nutrition Standards, which catalogue the nutrition quality of this evidence-informed intervention.
Because of compelling research results, some states have begun to use waivers and regulatory flexibilities to pilot coverage of MTMs in both Medicare and Medicaid. While much success has been seen in these pilots, they fall short of establishing the widespread coverage needed to ensure equitable access to these critical services across the U.S. Changing healthcare policy to fund, deliver and explicitly evaluate the MTM intervention in Medicare and Medicaid would solve this issue.
The time has come to acknowledge the efficacy of administering mtms on a broader scale and to implement policies that make that provision a reality. medically tailored meals are one of the least expensive and most effective ways to improve our healthcare system in an equitable way. in the recommendations below, we identify a range of policy opportunities that we hope will be highlighted at the upcoming white house conference.
While the pilots provide important first steps in expanding access to MTM across the United States, they are not sufficient to create widespread, equitable access, to MTMs. We recommend legislators clarify or agency officials reinterpret the sections of the Social Security Act governing Medicaid and Medicare benefits to:
While not a long-term solution, large-scale pilot programs can be an important first step towards broader integration into healthcare delivery and payment systems.
While there is a rigorous evidence base for the efficacy of MTMs, larger, multi-site studies are the next step in more fully understanding the effects of the intervention in certain populations, and densities of service. We recommend that:
Identifying food insecurity and malnutrition in clinical settings is an urgent priority and supported in official statements by CMS, disease-related advocacy groups, professional physician academies and more. In particular, we recommend that CMS:
Doctors are often the most important voice in an individual’s nutritional health, yet doctors are not trained adequately on nutrition science in medical school. Using Doctoring our Diet: Policy Tools to Include Nutrition in U.S. Medical Training as a guide, we recommend that Congress and HHS take concrete steps to improve nutrition education for physicians and other health professionals. Other suggestions include:
As efforts to integrate nutrition into healthcare progress, they have highlighted important gaps in healthcare infrastructure that must be addressed to allow organizations to properly bill and code for nutrition interventions.
FIMC agencies have seen firsthand the way that uncertainties around the application of healthcare regulations to community-clinical partnerships can create barriers to delivering MTM to individuals who need them most. Continue recent efforts to modernize regulations implementing federal healthcare laws so that community-based providers can steward data appropriately and participate meaningfully in clinical partnerships. Set aside funding for technology infrastructure and capacity building for community-based providers.