On news stands across the country, Buhl’s piece focuses on a pilot run by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, which studies the benefits of medically tailored meals for patients living with congestive heart failure. He reports that this disease has some of the highest rates of re-hospitalization, and its treatment requires a strict and expensive diet. This is difficult for anyone to follow, but can be particularly challenging for low income patients. In the article, Buhl quotes Tanvir Hussain, a clinical cardiologist and Project Angel Food board member, who says that unless congestive heart failure patients follow dietary guidelines, the drug therapy doesn’t work to keep them out of the hospital.
Buhl’s reporting focuses both on the financial benefits of providing medically tailored meals, and also on how this intervention allows patients to maintain full and healthy lives. He frames the article with the story of Diane Henry, a congestive heart failure patient who says that since receiving medically tailored meals, she has more energy and has lost weight. “What I want to do is be able to take a long walk, go dancing. And wear my heels! I’m 54 and I still have a lot of life left.” Buhl concludes with Dr. Bernard Lewin, who argues that medically tailored meals represent a “shift in thinking from a problem-based medical delivery system to a holistic, wellness-focused preventive maintenance.” God’s Love We Deliver leads the Food Is Medicine Coalition and is honored to partner with our peer medically tailored meal organizations.
Together, we are working to make the healthcare system focus on health and not just illness.
It is an exciting moment in the Food is Medicine movement. As the healthcare system is coming to recognize that food and nutrition services are an integral component of keeping people healthy and bringing people from illness to wellness, we are certain to see more actions like the Medi-Cal pilot.