PHOENIX, April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Solera Health, a leading integrated benefit network, today launched a national partnership with Feeding America®, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, to help health plans and providers address food insecurity and improve health outcomes.
More than one in six older adults1 and children2 face food insecurity, which is associated with higher health care utilization and costs. Adults in food-insecure households are 47% more likely to visit the emergency room and 47% more likely to be admitted to the hospital, relative to food-secure households.3 However, food insecurity is not commonly treated as a health issue. With this new venture, Solera Health and Feeding America are seeking to change that.
Solera's integrated benefit network connects patients, payers, and providers to vetted and trusted community partners like Feeding America who are addressing social determinants of health. As part of this effort, Feeding America and Solera will work with payers to refer members who screen positive for food insecurity to Feeding America's national network of food pantries and food banks. Feeding America's community-based agencies will then facilitate both immediate and continuing food security interventions, such as distributing emergency nutritious food, helping check eligibility for food support programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP), and offering healthy eating counseling and education. Solera's technology platform will simplify identification and referrals, providing a feedback loop for outcomes reporting and medical claims payments by health plan clients. Medicare will soon allow its managed care plans to offer supplemental benefits for non-traditional services that increase health or improve quality of life. Medicaid and even commercial health plans are also recognizing how social determinants affect the health of their members.
"In order to promote good health, it's necessary to look beyond simply treating disease," said Michelle Berger Marshall, managing director of community health and nutrition at Feeding America. "Our organization has been at the forefront of advocating for food insecurity interventions to be prioritized at the health care level. Solera is helping us make this a reality by bridging the gap between payers, their members, and our national network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Solera has recognized what a critical issue this is, and the difference we can make by addressing it."
"Now more than ever before, we have a body of evidence that connects food insecurity to poor health," said Sandeep Wadhwa, MD, chief health officer and senior vice president of market innovations, at Solera Health and former Medicaid director of Colorado. "But making food insecurity interventions part of regular health interventions will require a paradigm shift. Payers, providers, and consumers aren't used to this approach, and the health care system will have to work together to address this issue holistically. We're excited to be collaborating with Feeding America on formalizing these efforts that can be uniformly covered by insurers, targeted to those in need, and whose impact can be measured."
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Solera Health
Solera Health is an integrated benefit network that connects patients, payers, and physicians with community organizations and digital therapeutics providers, simply and securely. Solera helps consolidate highly fragmented programs and services into one integrated network, allowing health plans and medical providers to increase consumer participation while lowering associated costs. Solera proactively identifies the "best fit" program provider based on each individual's unique needs and preferences, which has proven to have a significant impact on improved patient outcomes at a fraction of the cost of traditional medical care. For more information, visit Solera Health at www.soleranetwork.com, call 800-858-1714 or follow us on Twitter @SoleraNetwork or LinkedIn.
1 AARP Foundation and Impaq International. Issue brief: Older adults and unmet social needs prevalence and health implications. November 2017.
2 Feeding America. Map the Meal Gap 2017.
3 Carlson, S. & Keith-Jennings, B. SNAP Is Linked with Improved Nutritional Outcomes and Lower Health Care Costs, Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, January 2018.
SOURCE Solera Health