Association of National Expansion of Insurance Coverage of Medically Tailored Meals With Estimated Hospitalizations and Health Care Expenditures in the US (2022)
A new study out of Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition shows the power and promise of medically tailored meals for those living with diet-related illnesses across the country.
Previous research has shown that the Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) medically tailored meal (MTM) model is associated with improved health outcomes and lower cost of care for patients with complex chronic and severe illnesses, but the intervention is still not a covered benefit in Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance funding streams. No prior study has modelled the efficacy of universal implementation.
The outcomes are stunning: If all eligible patients received access to MTMs, in just the first year of service 1,594,000 hospitalizations could be avoided for a net cost savings of $13.6 billion.
This study demonstrates that including medically tailored meals in healthcare is not simply the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do: MTMs reduce costs, improve health and change lives. Diet-related illnesses disproportionately impact BIPOC communities, low-income families, and older Americans – the exact population that FIMC agencies serve. Medically tailored meals are one of the least expensive and most effective ways to improve our healthcare system in an equitable way.