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The American Journal of Managed Care June 2018
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Simply Delivered Meals: A Tale of Collaboration

Sarah L. Martin, PhD; Nancy Connelly, MBA; Cassandra Parsons, PharmD; and Katlyn Blackstone, MS, LSW
Offering a meal delivery service to patients in a community-based care transition program was associated with cost savings and a 38% lower 30-day hospital readmission rate.
ABSTRACT

Western medicine is undergoing a transition toward transparency of quality and costs, and healthcare systems are striving to achieve the Triple Aim, a framework for improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. Meanwhile, there is growing recognition of the impact of social determinants of health and a new federal requirement for nonprofit hospitals to implement prevention strategies. A specialized meal delivery program called Simply Delivered for ME (SDM) was formed in an effort to improve care and reduce 30-day hospital readmission rates. 

The Maine Medical Center (MMC) partnered with the Southern Maine Agency on Aging to offer SDM on a voluntary basis to high-risk Medicare patients already enrolled in the Community-based Care Transition Program (CCTP) at MMC. We report the results of the 2-year intervention in terms of 30-day hospital readmission rates and cost measures (ie, return on investment and cost savings). 

Of the 622 MMC patients who received SDM during the 24 months, the 30-day readmission rate was 10.3% (compared with the 16.6% 30-day rate of hospital readmission at baseline [ie, before the adoption of CCTP]) for all-cause readmissions. The cost savings for reduced readmissions were $212,160. The return on investment was 387%, or a benefit-cost ratio of $3.87 for every $1.00 spent on meals. Programs such as SDM may reduce the rate of hospital readmission among high-risk older adults and, thereby, yield lower healthcare costs. 

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(6):301-304

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