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Launch of MANNA Institute, Highlights Critical Impact of Nutrition on Health Outcomes

by PA Department of Human Services

Mar 29, 2019

Harrisburg, PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller joined the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) on March 21, to announce the MANNA Institute, a research division that will evaluate effectiveness and impacts of medically tailored meals on clients served by MANNA programs.

“Access to fresh, healthy foods can have an overwhelming effect on a person’s health and development. Medically tailored meals and nutrition education are a much less invasive way to put people on the path to better long-term health outcomes,” said Secretary Miller. “The MANNA Institute’s research will be invaluable as we work to see the prevalence of programs like MANNA and the use of food as medicine expand around the commonwealth.”

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 Medicaid managed care organizations in Southeast Pennsylvania.

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.

“MANNA’s model is an effective medical intervention for the clients it serves and gives them the tools and education to practice good nutrition on their own,” said Secretary Miller. “

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