Poor diet, exacerbated by food insecurity, is now the leading cause of death and disease in the United States. Health care providers and payers have begun to seek clinical and non-clinical opportunities to address food insecurity and malnutrition in patients to improve health outcomes and decrease health care costs. The Health Law Lab develops resources describing current gaps, innovations, and policy opportunities on this topic, and works with partners to drive related health system reform.
Food is Medicine Massachusetts (FIMMA)
A multi-sector coalition, co-led by CHLPI and Community Servings. FIMMA is tasked with coordinating the implementation of the Food is Medicine 15, a series of targeted policy recommendations outlined in The Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan.
The Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan
A two-year initiative that investigated the access, gaps, and barriers associated with Food is Medicine services across Massachusetts from food insecurity screening to food and nutrition interventions. The report provides a blueprint for building a health care system that recognizes the critical relationship between food and health and ensures access to food and nutrition services Massachusetts residents need to prevent, manage, and treat diet-related illness.
Produce prescriptions are a nutrition intervention that target food insecurity and improve health outcomes. These innovative nutrition services lower financial barriers to food access and simultaneously encourage consumption of fresh produce. In addition to addressing household food insecurity, produce prescriptions have led to clinically significant reductions in indicators such as hemoglobin A1c and blood pressure. Their broader effects are […]
As communities across the country continue to grapple with the consequences of COVID-19, the health care system is called upon to address social determinants of health (SDOH). Some health system entities have concerns about supporting their patients in new ways while continuing to ensure compliance with health care fraud and abuse laws. This blog post […]
Initial research outlines opportunities to increase access to healthy foods during hunger & Covid-19 crises. Today the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) announced the launch of Mainstreaming Produce Prescription (Rx) Programs, a new initiative to increase access to nutritious food and improve health outcomes for people with diet-related diseases. […]
The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI), together with Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, has released Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion: Navigating HIPAA, a resource for food banks working together with health care entities while navigating federal patient privacy law.
By Margaret Dushko, Harvard Law School ‘21 Medicaid 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services Waivers keep vulnerable patients from needing institutional care by providing services at home and in the community like coverage for home health aides and home-delivered meals. Emergency Appendix K modifications present a critical opportunity for states utilizing the Medicaid 1915(c) Home […]
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shines a harsh and unforgiving spotlight on the impacts of the social determinants of health. New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that people who are homeless or in congregate living facilities face additional challenges that can exacerbate the spread and severity of COVID-19. CDC […]
Nutrition is an important social determinant of health. Food insecurity and malnutrition are associated with poor health outcomes – including higher rates of certain diseases like diabetes – and higher health care costs. Food insecurity and inadequate diet quality disproportionately impact groups with low socioeconomic status. Developing effective Food is Medicine interventions for these populations […]
A new 2019 study found that nearly 4 in 10 Medicare enrollees (38.3%) younger than 65 experience food insecurity, and nearly 1 in 10 enrollees (9.1%) 65 years or older experience food insecurity. CMS has emphasized food insecurity and other social determinants of health in its Accountable Health Communities model, in which the social needs of beneficiaries are screened and addressed to thereby improve health care costs and outcomes. These findings emphasize the need to address food insecurity among Medicare enrollees.
Over the years, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School’s work with community based organizations, health care providers, payers, and government officials has highlighted that health relies on more than a visit to the doctor’s office. Emerging models of community-clinical partnerships address the ways that our homes, food, environment, and […]