PROJECT ANGEL FOOD is launching a new state pilot program to benefit low-income Californians with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in April 2018. GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN funded the first year of the three-year $6 million pilot program to prove our medically tailored meals can reduce health care costs for Medi-Cal recipients.
PROJECT ANGEL FOOD and five sister agencies, Project Open Hand, Mama’s Kitchen, Ceres, Food For Thought and Health Trust, make up the part of the pilot and the California Food is Medicine Coalition.
The purpose of this groundbreaking pilot is to prove our medically tailored meals and medical nutrition intervention can reduce hospital admission rates and health care costs within a 12-week period. Participants in the pilot will receive 100% daily nutrition which includes breakfast and two entrees for 3 months. They will also be provided with intensive medical nutrition therapy including two in-home visits by a Registered Dietitian and two follow up telephone calls.
This is the first time any State has funded a pilot of this kind. RICHARD AYOUB, Executive Director PROJECT ANGEL FOOD said, “This new statewide program will usher in a new era for PROJECT ANGEL FOOD. At the end of the program there will be a published finding definitively proving our nutritious meals reduce health care costs.”
State funding will be provided and administered by the California Department of Health Care Services. As part of the state directive, PROJECT ANGEL FOOD and its five sister agencies will collectively serve 1,000 Medi-Cal patients with CHF for the three years of the pilot, with each of the agencies serving 60 participants per year. To measure hospital utilization, patients must receive their first meal within 7 days of being discharged from a hospital. During the preliminary year, PROJECT ANGEL FOOD will target patients living in San Fernando Valley, Metro LA, and South LA.
Our key partners include L.A. Care Health Plan, who provided us start-up funding to implement the pilot. Part of the startup funds from L.A. Care funded the purchase of our first ever refrigerated van. In addition to L.A. Care, we have formed referral partnerships with Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, and LAC+USC Medical Center. We are planning to secure more partnerships to ensure we serve all participants who would benefit from this intervention and pilot.
All of this was made possible through the concerted collaborative efforts of the California Food is Medicine Coalition and support from our elected officials. It took only four months from advocacy to budget approval, an unprecedented feat in today’s landscape. State Senator MIKE MCGUIRE worked with the California contingency of the Food Is Medicine Coalition to obtain the funding. Strong support for the program came from powerhouse Los Angeles figures State Senator HOLLY MITCHELL (District 30, Los Angeles – D), State Assembly Member BLANCA E. RUBIO, (District 48, Baldwin Park), State Senator RICARDO LARA (District 33, Bell Gardens), State Senator RICHARD ROTH, (District 31, Riverside), Assembly Member RICHARD BLOOM (District 50, Santa Monica) and State Senator BEN ALLEN (District 26, Redondo Beach).
Participation in this pilot marks a new iteration for PROJECT ANGEL FOOD as the organization becomes research-driven, adding a new dimension to the charity which has served the community for the past 29 years, providing more than 11 MILLION MEALS to men and women living with critical illness and preparing over 11,000 MEALS A WEEK. For information on how to participate in the pilot program with Project Angel Food, visit angelfood.org/chf.
PROJECT ANGEL FOOD is part of the Food Is Medicine Coalition, a national association of nonprofit, medically tailored food and nutrition services providers for people with severe or chronic illnesses.