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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.


Key Projects

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.

To learn more about FIMMA and the State Plan visit foodismedicinema.org.


Related Blog Posts

  • Multiple Topics
  • July 1, 2020

How to Navigate Patient Privacy in Integrated Care: A Guide for Food Banks

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.

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  • Multiple Topics
  • May 1, 2020

States with Medicaid 1915(c) Waivers Should Use Appendix K Modifications to Ensure Continued Care for the Most Vulnerable Patients!

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 […]

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  • Food
  • November 10, 2019

Health Benefits of Subsidized Community Supported Agriculture Farm Shares

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 […]

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  • Food
  • October 30, 2019

New Study Illuminates Food Insecurity among Medicare Enrollees

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.

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  • Multiple Topics
  • October 17, 2019

Welcome to The Health Law Lab!

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 […]

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