From Sarah Conca, MAND Director of Public Policy:
"I was fortunate to be able to attend this past Wednesday's Food is Medicine MA coalition meeting, which included time for the three task forces to not only meet in their separate groups (reminder: MAND serves on CBO task force), but also set aside time for the three task forces to provides updates on their work. The event ended with presentations by Harvard Food Law Policy speakers and a doctoral student/author presenting on conflicting views on the part of community based organizations as regards "commercializing" the services they provide by increasing health insurance reimbursement for their services. Very interesting! Happy to share more after FNCE.
[There is] a new state-level action alert. The MA FIM state plan coalition members are urging the state legislature to re-establish or permanently establish and fund, or create anew, three main food and health policies: (1) Healthy Incentives Program (HIP); (2) Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund; and (3) Food and Health Pilot Program. At Wednesday's event, attendees were given information on new legislation filed just this week, quite late in the legislative session, to establish a "Food and Health Pilot Program," which would establish a state-based study on FIM interventions as a means to guide further state policy and ultimately funding.
Members of the MA House of Representatives have only through next week [11/1/19] to sign to cosponsor the Food and Health Pilot Program bill, H.D.4549 and the MA FIM coalition is asking you to email your state representative (find him or her at www.malegislature.gov) with the following and ask them to cosponsor the bill. Senators will have additional time, so be on the lookout for another opportunity to take action."
Dear Representative ___________________:
On Monday, October 21st, Rep. Denise Garlick and Sen. Julian Cyr filed bills HD 4549 and SD 2605 to create the "Food and Health Pilot Program:” An Act Relative to Establishing and Implementing a Food and Health Pilot Program. The program would connect Medicaid-eligible individuals with specific diet-related health conditions to nutrition services to assist in the treatment and management of their disease. Diet-related health conditions associated with food insecurity result in a staggering $1.9 billion in avoidable health care costs in Massachusetts each year. Given the evidence surrounding the efficacy of these nutrition services, this program is expected to improve health outcomes, lower health care costs, and decrease health care utilization.
Your support for HD 4549 [House] / SD 2605 [Senate] is vital to improving the health of Massachusetts residents and lowering overall health care spending. This Food and Health Pilot Program would enhance the capacity of health care systems to respond appropriately to their patient’s nutrition needs by offering a spectrum of nutrition services. In addition to filling a critical gap in research on nutrition and health, this program has the power to simultaneously expand access to sorely-needed nutrition services in areas of the state where they currently don’t exist.
We encourage you to become a co-sponsor today! Together, we can make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to build a health care system that recognizes the critical relationship between food and health.
Your name, title, affiliation, voting address in MA