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Mom’s Meals, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia food as medicine programs reduce health care costs and readmissions

June 13, 2024

Data from AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia (DC) members who received Mom’s Meals medically tailored meals along with telephonic nutrition education from a registered dietitian, showed health care costs decreased for all individuals in each of the four food as medicine programs — diabetes, chronic conditions, maternal health and post-discharge. Results from the post-discharge program reported the highest total cost reduction of $10 million along with 20% fewer readmissions for participating members. 

Other food as medicine results include: 

  • Chronic conditions — $4 million reduction in cost and 65% fewer readmissions. This program focused on individuals living with hypertension, congestive heart failure, hyperlipidemia, and/or atherosclerosis. 
  • Maternal health — $186,000 reduction in cost. This program focused on ensuring pregnant persons have access to proper nutrition throughout the duration of their pregnancy and postpartum period. 
  • Diabetes chronic care — annual cost reduction of 19% per member per year (PMPY) compared to an increase of 99% in control group members. The greatest reductions were seen in emergency medical services at 62% PMPY and potentially preventable admissions at 63% PMPY. 

“Our food as medicine programs are focused on health interventions to improve outcomes, tailored to individual needs and designed with the whole family approach,” said Keith Maccannon, director, marketing, community relations and outreach at AmeriHealth Caritas DC. “These results clearly demonstrate the lasting impact these programs can have not only for the individual members but the entire health care system.” 

“Food is medicine programs are designed to help prevent, manage and treat diet-related diseases,” said Catherine Macpherson, MS, RDN, senior vice president and chief nutrition officer for Mom’s Meals. “These programs along with peer-reviewed published data, show the strong impact of medically tailored meals on health conditions and the cost of healthcare. These impacts deliver important health improvements for vulnerable people, improve health care quality measures and provide a strong return on investment for the managed care plan.” 

Food as medicine program impact evaluation 
Since 2015, AmeriHealth Caritas DC and Mom’s Meals have partnered on food as medicine programs for AmeriHealth members. In 2022, a data analysis was completed to determine the effects of medically tailored meals programs on reducing:

  • Low acuity non-emergent emergency room department visits 
  • Emergency medical services utilization 
  • Potentially preventable admission 
  • 30-day all-cause readmissions 
  • Total cost of care 

The evaluation approach used two methods. The first was a pre/post time series analysis evaluation. This consisted of a comparison of outcomes for members enrolled in the program over two time periods. The second approach was a control group evaluation. Outcomes for members in the programs were compared with a matched control group of members not in the programs. 

In the diabetes and chronic conditions programs, participants received meals for four, eight or 12 weeks and family members were also eligible to receive meals. In the maternal health program, individuals received meals for the duration of their pregnancy plus eight weeks postpartum and family members were also able to receive meals. The time period was limited to two weeks for the post-discharge program and family members were also eligible for meals.

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About Mom’s Meals
Mom’s Meals provides fully prepared, refrigerated, home-delivered meals through Medicaid or Medicare Advantage health plan benefits or for direct purchase. Mom’s Meals delivers nationwide and offers many medically tailored options for different health conditions. Its long-term care, chronic care and post-discharge care programs allow clients to lead healthier lives while remaining independent at home. For more information, visit