California First State Ever to Prescribe Specific Meals to Chronically Ill Patients
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
California has become the first state to prescribe specific – and presumably healthier – meals to chronically ill patients.
The newly launched pilot program will treat low-income and at-risk Medicaid patients with “specially tailored meals that are proven to offer relief from chronic illnesses and diseases.”
Wait – Is this finally an admission that specific foods have an ameliorative effect on disease?
The “Food is Medicine” 3-year program draws on how certain illnesses require special diets that can be hard to orchestrate, especially for poorer patients. Congestive heart failure, for instance, requires people to consume less than one teaspoon of salt per day. While this can already be hard to actually measure throughout your daily meals, it can also be hard for low-income patients to find cheap foods that are low in sodium.
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Over the course of the next three years, the state will be giving funding to hunger relief charities in San Francisco, the North Bay Area, Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The charities and pantries, all of which are a part of the Food is Medicine coalition, will be providing specially prepared meals to 1,000 state Medicaid patients who suffer from congestive heart failure, cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal disease.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) first approved the program back in June 2017, but legislators celebrated the actual launch of the program last Sunday.
Important to note: while some people may scoff that the program is worried about salt for its patients, keep in mind that low-income people have little to choose from if they are to fill grocery carts and bellies. Processed food is nothing if not loaded with obscene doses of table salt. All this processed salt greatly displaces the precious amount of potassium that heart patients – and all people – need on a daily basis.
There are very few Americans who get the daily recommended 4,700 mg of potassium needed for detoxification and heart health. It comes from fresh, whole foods like dark leafy greens, potatoes, bananas and dates. On top of that, a single meal at a restaurant could easily top 1,200 mg of sodium! We might make a tasty human-jerky if aliens ever invaded… (but I digress!)
This program was inspired by a previous initiative by the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance in Philadelphia. That stands for MANNA — get it?
Their study gave patients three medically tailored meals during six months and as a result they experienced a dramatic drop in monthly healthcare costs, from $38,937 per month to $28,183 per month all together. That was a 55% lower drop compared to the control group.
Likewise, more U.S. hospitals are using fresh food for their patients with great results.
Senator Mike McGuire said:
We couldn’t be more excited to turn this local success story into a statewide program that will improve the health of those who need it most while reducing costs for taxpayers over the long term.
The bottom line: We believe, over the next three years, we’ll demonstrate enhanced health outcomes for chronically ill Medi-Cal patients and save millions in health care costs.
Today I had the honor of joining @ProjAngelFood at the launch of their statewide pilot project which will provide nutritional meals to patients suffering from congestive heart failure. Thanks to @MamasKitchenSD for the great food. @LACareHealth @RichardAyoub pic.twitter.com/7rzKfPd95j
— Assemblywoman Rubio (@AsmBlancaRubio) May 5, 2018
We really couldn’t tell what types of foods the patients will be given – but any step in this direction is a giant step up from abysmal hospital food – which is thinly veiled GMO hog slop.
My only “beef” is that this type of program should become the norm for ALL patients and that’s an order that should have been placed long before yesterday. It’s hard not to notice that the real motivation seems to be making sure the hospitals aren’t incurring too many costs – but at least they are finally listening, one way or another.
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