Although addressing members’ nonmedical needs — such as transportation, housing and nutrition — has become a popular initiative at many health plans, not all payers have been able to link such actions to improved outcomes and cost savings.

Pittsburgh-based integrated delivery system UPMC, however, recently reported promising results from a pilot program it conducted in its Medicaid managed care plan, in which it partnered with Mom’s Meals to deliver clinically appropriate meals to a select population.

In the pilot program, UPMC chose 100 Medicaid beneficiaries who were chronically ill with a nutrition-sensitive condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, and who had screened positive for food insecurity, explains Katie Domalakes, senior director of clinical affairs and program development at UPMC Health Plan. More than 50% of the participants also had a diagnosis of a serious and persistent mental illness.

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