Partner Resources

Food Security is Health Care

A Health Care Partnerships Impact Report

Released June 2022 by Project Bread

Overview

Evaluating the impact of Project Bread's innovative program to address food insecurity through the health care system, part of MassHealth's Flexible Services Program pilot. Preliminary findings demonstrate an increase in food security for patients, and point to health cost savings.

Summary

As a partner in MassHealth's Flexible Services Program, Project Bread is treating food insecurity through the health care system to improve long-term patient health outcomes. In 2020, MassHealth launched its Flexible Services Program. A revolutionary pilot allowing Medicaid dollars to be used on “non-medical” expenses to address two social determinants of health — food insecurity and housing stability. Since April 2020, Project Bread has piloted the Flexible Services Program with MassHealth and Community Care Cooperative (C3), an accountable care organization, in 14 Massachusetts health centers, to provide nutrition support and address the individualized needs of patients who are food insecure paired with a physical or behavioral health diagnosis. The Flexible Services Program offers an opportunity to formalize our relationships with health centers, and insurers, and to create a sustainable system in which food is treated as an integral component of healthcare. Our evaluation of this pilot will determine its impacts on participating patient health outcomes and total cost of care.

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