Jan Matt Message

Advocating for Medically Tailored Meals on The Hill

On February 6 and 7, Senior Director of Client Services, Aleta McLean, and I will travel to Washington D.C. along with many of our colleagues in the national Food is Medicine Coalition. We will be meeting with legislature up on the Hill to discuss the Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act and share data that underscores the need for Congress to take action.

What is this Demonstration Pilot Act?

The Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act would establish a Medicare pilot program to address the critical link between diet, chronic illness, and the health of older adults and people with disabilities. This proposal will ensure that medically vulnerable individuals get access to lifesaving medically tailored meals in their home, while providing the outcomes data we need to build a more resilient, equitable, and cost-effective healthcare system.

This bipartisan and bicameral bill was introduced by Representative James P. McGovern and other legislature from both sides of the aisle.

Why is this demonstration act needed?

Approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. However, most Medicare beneficiaries currently have no access to medically tailored meal services. Medicare Parts A and B—covering more than two-thirds of Medicare enrollees—provide no coverage for medically tailored meals. The bill begins to correct this lack of access for vulnerable populations by directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a demonstration pilot program to test the provision of medically tailored meals to recently hospitalized Medicare enrollees with conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, COPD, and kidney disease. The growing body of research shows that medically tailored meals are an extremely effective response for individuals with complex health profiles, generating immediate and significant impacts on health outcomes and costs.

Everyone deserves access to love, dignity, and nutrition. We know that food is medicine, and this legislation would be a huge step towards expanding access to nutrition interventions not just within our own community, but nationwide. 

Open Hand and our partners in the national Food is Medicine Coalition are hoping that Congress will include the Medically Tailored Home Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act in any legislative package to improve healthcare and our economy. We are strong supporters of expanding equitable access to the medically tailored meal intervention (MTMs).


Matthew Pieper, Executive Director
Posted January 24, 2024