Treating Food Insecurity
We know food insecurity affects health in profound ways, and that improved food access leads to improved health outcomes. As a partner in MassHealth's Flexible Services Program, Project Bread is treating food insecurity through the healthcare system to improve long-term patient health outcomes.
This revolutionary pilot program allows Medicaid dollars to be used on “non-medical” expenses to address two social determinants of health — food insecurity and housing stability.
One of the only kind in the nation, Project Bread’s model goes beyond prescriptions for food by offering comprehensive case management to certain eligible MassHealth patients who are both food insecure and have a physical or behavioral health diagnosis.
This ground-breaking program is demonstrating an improvement in both food security and health of participants.
to combat chronic food-insecurity
Read the latest article from Civil Eats highlighting our work using Medicaid to build food security through the healthcare system.
“I’ve had no working refrigerator for six years. I can’t cook, and I live on cold canned soup. I’m so grateful they are helping to improve my situation, starting with a new fridge and fixing my kitchen sink.”
MassHealth patient, Flexible Service Program
June 2022, we released our evaluation of preliminary findings from the Flexible Services Program, which demonstrate an increase in food security for patients, and point to health cost savings.
Referrals to our Healthcare Partnerships program come from our Accountable Care Organization partners Community Care Cooperative (C3), Boston Medical Center ACO and Boston Children's Hospital ACO. Collectively they send us referrals* from over 40 community health centers, physician offices and hospitals across the Commonwealth.
We provide individualized support to these food insecure patients with medically complex health issues by addressing social, environmental and economic factors that influence their ability to purchase, prepare and consume healthy foods.
Depending on need, members may receive: grocery store gift cards; transportation assistance; procurement of kitchen supplies and appliances; cooking classes; nutrition counseling; referrals for medically tailored meals; assistance connecting with federal nutrition assistance program like SNAP and WIC; and referrals to nearby food pantries.
*Flexible Services is not an entitlement program or a covered service, and not all MassHealth members will receive these specific supports.
3,799 eligible MassHealth patients received Project Bread’s comprehensive case management in 2022, allowing them to feel better and live healthier — a 161% increase from the number of patients served the previous year.
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