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Medically-Tailored Home Meal Program Associated with Reduced Inpatient Admissions and Health Care Costs
“Is participating in a medically tailored meal delivery program for medically and socially complex adults associated with fewer inpatient admissions?” (1). The cohort study published in JAMA examining this question looked at weekly home delivery of 10 free ready-to-eat medically-tailored meals (MTMs) (median duration of MTMs was nine months) to 499 individuals who were independently living and had a medical condition (such as heart disease or diabetes). A registered dietitian determined the appropriate diet and meals based on the individual’s health condition(s) as identified by the referring health provider. The authors compared health care use/inpatient admissions (primary data), admission to a skilled nursing facility and health care costs (secondary outcomes) with 521 non-meal recipients who were matched to the recipients (mean [SD] age, 52.7 [14.5] years; 568 [55.7%] female) based on demographics, disease states and neighborhood characteristics. The authors found that those who received MTMs were less likely to have hospital and skilled nursing facility admissions resulting in less overall health care costs.
See this commentary, Food Is Medicine—The Promise and Challenges of Integrating Food and Nutrition Into Health Care, for more information on the study and its results.
- Berkowitz SA, Terranova J, Randall L, Cranston K, Hsu J. Association between receipt of a medically tailored meal program and health care use. JAMA. 2019 Apr. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0198. [Epub ahead of print]. Abstract available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31009050