Waltham, Mass. – March 13, 2023 – Fresenius Kidney Care, the nation’s leader in kidney care services and education, renewed its support for the Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) to help those living with severe illness eat and live better. Fresenius Kidney Care is donating $150,000 to FIMC to expand access to medically tailored meals (MTMs) through the FIMC Accelerator program and to support the development of an accreditation program to ensure fidelity to the quality standards of the FIMC medically tailored meal model.
March is National Kidney Month, when kidney health advocates such as Fresenius Kidney Care raise awareness about the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Of the estimated 37 million American adults who are managing a diagnosis, nine in 10 individuals don’t know they have it.1 Left undetected, kidney disease can progress in five stages and may eventually lead to end stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, at which point, available treatment options include kidney transplant or dialysis. Education, early detection, and nutrition are key to countering this “silent disease”, though for those managing kidney failure on dialysis, having a diet catered to individual needs is critical. Research indicates that, for individuals living with severe illness, MTMs can improve health outcomes, lower cost of care and increase quality of life.
“For people living with chronic kidney disease, a healthy diet and exercise is key to maintaining kidney function and preventing progression to kidney failure, but limited access to healthy foods or knowledge of how to manage a complex diagnosis can prevent individuals from pursuing a nutritious diet,” said Dennis Kogod, President of Fresenius Kidney Care. “We’re committed to helping patients living with CKD approach their care holistically, and providing medically tailored meals can help improve their outcomes.”
FIMC agencies provide patients living with complex illnesses such as kidney failure and those managing treatment on dialysis the opportunity to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to build a meal plan specifically designed for their health needs. These scientifically developed meals also account for additional complications that come with an individual’s diagnosis, including treatment side effects and comorbidities. With a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan, individuals can have pre-made meals delivered directly to their home.
Fresenius Kidney Care’s donation extends its longstanding partnership with FIMC by helping to fund a fourth cohort – or group – of nonprofit food providers that will be trained to become medically tailored meal providers through the FIMC Accelerator program, as well as supporting the launch of an Accreditation Program to further codify the medically tailored meal model and nutritional standards. This builds upon the initial donation from Fresenius Kidney Care in 2020, which funded FIMC’s inaugural Accelerator program and supported the operational needs of MTM agency partners facing an explosive demand for medically tailored home-delivered meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that high-quality, nutrient-dense food is vital to the treatment and management of diseases. This funding is critical to accelerating our work in communities to refine, replicate and broadly scale the medically tailored meal model to ensure that people coping with kidney disease and other chronic illnesses have access to medically tailored meals, regardless of
where they reside," said Alissa Wassung, Executive Director Food Is Medicine Coalition. "Accrediting medically tailored meal providers throughout the U.S. will help expand this work with a systematic and research-based approach."
Investment, awareness, and demand for increased funding of MTM programs across the scientific community has grown quickly. In September 2022, MTMs were prominently featured during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health with the proposal of a pilot program to cover medically tailored meals as part of Medicare Advantage plans and promises of guidance from CMS on how to utilize this life-saving service in Medicaid.
The need for more equitable access to healthy food options for patients living with chronic kidney disease is critical. With support from Fresenius Kidney Care, FIMC is poised to further drive broader access to medically tailored meals across the country by leveraging this widespread momentum for “food is medicine” interventions.
Learn more about National Kidney Month at https://fmcna.com/patient-care/kidney-care/national-kidney-month/.
About Fresenius Kidney Care
Fresenius Kidney Care, a division of Fresenius Medical Care, provides kidney care education, dialysis treatment, and support services to more than 200,000 people with kidney disease every year whether in their own homes or at more than 2,600 facilities nationwide. Fresenius Kidney Care’s dedicated teams help address the physical and emotional aspects of kidney disease through personalized care, education, and lifestyle support services. For more information about Fresenius Kidney Care, visit www.FreseniusKidneyCare.com
About the Food is Medicine Coalition
The Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) is a coalition of more than 40 nonprofit medically tailored food and nutrition service providers throughout the U.S. focused on advancing policy, research and best practices around the evidence-informed medical food and nutrition intervention. Medically tailored meals (MTMs) are delivered to individuals living with severe illness through a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan. Meal plans are tailored to the medical needs of the recipient by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and are designed to improve health outcomes, lower cost of care and increase patient satisfaction. MTMs are delivered to an individual’s home. Please visit fimcoalition.org for more information.