And maybe need to spend less on health care.
That is the lesson learned from a program in Massachusetts that provided home delivery of food to dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients who were struggling with their meals.
In a limited experiment, selected individuals received home delivery of food: some received general meal deliveries while others received food tailored to their individual medical conditions. The purpose: address a major social determinant of health in this difficult-to-serve population.
Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient admissions and lower medical spending. Participation in the nontailored food program was not associated with fewer inpatient admissions but was associated with lower medical spending. These findings suggest the potential for meal delivery programs to reduce the use of costly health care and decrease spending for vulnerable patients.
This type of approach might be especially beneficial for Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals because they care for so many patients who participate in both Medicare and Medicaid.
Learn more about the program and its results in the Health Affairs article “Meal Delivery Programs Reduce the Use of Costly Health Care in Dually Eligible Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries,” which can be found here.