Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller joined Congressman Dwight Evans, State Representatives Donna Bullock, Jason Dawkins, and Isabella Fitzgerald, Health Partners Plans (HPP) President and CEO Bill George, and HPP executive leadership at the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) for a volunteer day to highlight the importance of nutrition for good health. The volunteers made meals tailored to MANNA clients’ medical needs, which are later delivered to MANNA clients at no cost to clients.

“Good nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a person’s overall health,” said Secretary Miller. “Access to healthy, nutritious food is a critical step in preventing, managing, and overcoming serious illness. MANNA’s work to help treat health issues with food and promote nutrition education is putting people on a path to lead healthier, enriched, and productive lives.”

The Wolf Administration and Department of Human Services are prioritizing improving the health care system for Pennsylvania residents, providers, and payers. Moving away from care only when a person is sick or injured and instead giving people the education and tools they need to live better, healthier lives and identify potential issues when they may be easier to treat or manage. This focus on whole-person care strengthens the relationship between patients and providers, increases the value of dollars spent and improves the health care outcomes for the patients, setting them up for a healthy, successful life.

Diet-related chronic illness impacts more than 60 percent of Pennsylvania residents, and accounts for more than 80 percent of health care costs. The innovative MANNA model of providing medically tailored meals to individuals with chronic illness is extremely successful, as demonstrated through the partnership between MANNA and managed care organizations like Health Partners Plans.

“Food insecurity remains a substantial barrier to health care for far too many people,” said Health Partners Plans President and CEO William S. George. “We are proud to be a national leader in the battle against food insecurity by having pioneered a partnership with a community nonprofit to provide medically tailored meals to chronically ill people. We are truly grateful that Secretary Miller, DHS and Pennsylvania legislators share our commitment to addressing social determinants of health in novel ways that improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs.”

A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health showed that those who received MANNA meals saw a 31 percent reduction in average monthly health care costs, and 37 percent shorter hospital stays for those who were hospitalized versus a matched group. 
 

For more information on DHS, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

For more information on MANNA, visit www.mannapa.org.