/ Policy

Alissa Wassung to speak at US Conference on HIV/AIDS

Alissa Wassung, Senior Director of Policy & Planning at God’s Love We Deliver, will present on Monday, October 19th at the US Conference on HIV/AIDS on “Responding to a New Epidemic: Structural Interventions for PWH during COVID” on a panel with other nonprofit leaders in structural change.

Alissa represents God’s Love and also the 21 Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) members who provide medically tailored meals (MTM) to more than 68,000 people across the United States.

COVID-19 presents a massive risk for typical recipients of medically tailored meals, including people living with HIV/AIDS, due to their compromised immune systems. Because the MTM intervention has been shown to dramatically reduce inpatient hospital admissions and emergency department visits, this service has become more critical than ever before for this population.

This pandemic has exposed fault lines in our society’s nutrition safety net. It is essential that the public and private sector coordinate efforts to provide essential food and nutrition services to those who need them the most. The more we learn about COVID-19 and who is at most risk, the more we see that food and nutrition interventions in healthcare are the key to a more equitable system in the future.

With the lessons learned from this pandemic, in the future, government and policymakers must plan for crises by drawing from the knowledge and experience of MTM providers. Government action, such as the CARES act must support nonprofits who provide essential services to the most vulnerable people in society. Finally, MTM should be a reimbursable healthcare service, especially in Medicare & Medicaid. MTM pilots in CA, MA, NY and NC have demonstrated improved healthcare outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. The medically tailored meal intervention makes the entire healthcare system more resilient.

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