Chicago Pilot Delivering Produce to Hypertensive Medicaid Patients

April 14, 2023
In pilot project,114 Medicaid patients with high, uncontrolled blood pressure will receive boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables and will have access to health coaches and culturally appropriate diet counseling
A pilot project in Chicago involving Medical Home Network (MHN), Top Box Foods and Alivio Medical Center (AMC) is designed to determine if providing home-delivered fruits and vegetables, in tandem with care coordination and health coaching, can improve the health and food security of hypertensive Medicaid patients while also lowering care costs.

Each project partner brings its own expertise to the project, which was launched March 20, 2023, and funded by a grant from the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program-Produce Prescription Program. Top Box Foods has experience in food distribution and food access initiatives; MHN has care coordination and data analytics experience; and AMC has been delivering care across 10 Chicago communities for over 30 years.

AMC identified 114 of its Medicaid patients with high, uncontrolled blood pressure to be part of the program. Participants will receive boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables from Top Box Foods each week and will also have access to health coaches and culturally appropriate diet counseling from AMC.

MHN will evaluate the success of the program by analyzing participants’ food insecurity and social determinants of health screenings, healthcare use and costs, and blood pressure readings taken at home by participants, among other metrics. This added layer of data analytics sets this program apart.

“Food insecurity and food deserts plague many Chicago neighborhoods and negatively impact the health and well-being of their residents,” said Cheryl Lulias, president and CEO of Medical Home Network, in a statement. “Partnering with Top Box and Alivio Medical Center to measure the impact of this produce prescription program is a natural extension of MHN’s whole-person model of care and dedication to improving the health of underserved communities,”

MHN works with community health centers to engage them in practice transformation and successfully transition them to value-based care. Nearly a decade after forming a Medicaid ACO with FQHCs in Chicago, MHN expanded its mission to new markets with the goal of making a national impact on community health through the ACO REACH model. MHN’s new entity, Medical Home Network REACH ACO is a Medicare accountable care organization with community health center members in Oklahoma and New York.

MHN also has experience developing health IT solutions that improve patient outcomes. Its AI risk prediction model works to identify high- and rising-risk patients based on SDOH and medical data, and its MHN Baseball Card leverages integration capabilities to provide at-a-glance, real-time patient information to providers in their workflows.

Should the program find success in its two-year trial run, MHN, AMC and Top Box Foods will pitch the model to Chicagoland hospitals and health plans, so they can replicate its success with their patients and members. 

“We are excited to see the impact this program has on our Medicaid population and even more excited at the prospect of spreading this approach to other Chicago-area provider organizations, so every patient who needs this type of intervention can have access to it,” said Esther Corpuz, CEO of Alivio Medical Center, in a statement.

“The intention surrounding this partnership goes beyond just food access to creating lifelong benefits for participants, which is exciting and where this field is going,” added Connor DeLoach, Top Box Foods executive director, in a statement.


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