Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Project Title

Incorporating Food Is Medicine Services into New York State Medicaid

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Date Awarded

June 15, 2022


Capital Region





The Food Is Medicine (FIM) movement recognizes that nutrition and health are directly linked.

FIM programs are typically targeted to people with chronic illnesses or risk factors, often using a food “prescription” written by a health care provider or plan. FIM usually takes the form of prepared meals or food/produce boxes that are medically tailored to an individual patient. These programs can improve health outcomes, reduce food insecurity, and decrease long-term health care costs. FIM programs have been of interest to New York State’s Medicaid program. The State recently submitted a proposal to the federal government requesting $13.5 billion in Medicaid funding as part of a new waiver demonstration project. The proposed waiver offers pathways to expand FIM services, but the details still need to be defined and operationalized. In 2022, NYHealth awarded The Food Pantries for the Capital District a grant to help New York State FIM programs become eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.

Under this grant, Food Pantries and its partners explored different ways to integrate FIM services into Medicaid. In collaboration with the New York State Community Assistance Network, Food Pantries developed an issue-focused statewide coalition and steering committee of stakeholders, including providers and health care payers. It conducted policy research, consulting successful blueprints from Massachusetts and California, which have developed similar waivers in order for Medicaid to fund these food programs. A blueprint was published for New York State with policy recommendations and actions for Medicaid reimbursement adoption.