Harrisburg, PA, Oct. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia-based MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) aligned in January 2017 to initiate a groundbreaking program: temperature-controlled shipping of nutritional meals to Aetna Better Health’s members who are managing chronic diseases. This is the first program of its kind – expanding MANNA’s provider partnerships from Southeastern Pennsylvania to a statewide initiative with Aetna Better Health.  

Since uniting as a team, MANNA has delivered 115,000 meals statewide to Aetna Better Health members. This is the first time in the state that the nutritional needs of people living with chronic illness are addressed via direct shipping to members’ homes. 

According to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control(CDC), more than half of all Americans live with at least one chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. In 2015, 7.7 million people in Pennsylvania had at least one chronic disease and 3.3 million had at least two or more chronic diseases (Partnership To Fight Chronic Disease). The CDCstates that most chronic diseases are caused by key risk factors, including poor nutrition. Organizations like Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania and MANNA understand the link between nutrition and disease all too well. The top five chronic health conditions represented in Aetna Better Health members receiving meals are Diabetes (38%), High-risk Pregnancy (12%), Hypertension (11%), Obesity (8%), and Heart Disease (5%).

Since its inception 28 years ago, MANNAhas delivered and provided over 14 million nourishing meals and nutrition counseling services to people living with 70 different chronic illnesses. With food as medicine, MANNA is mastering the art and science of keeping Pennsylvanians healthy. Their service is proven toreduce in-patient hospital visits and hospital length of stay, and decrease overall health care costs. 

“We examined the outcomes of current Aetna Better Health members receiving meals from MANNA and detected that this service was not only significantly improving their overall health, but it also reduced their need for added medical interventions such as visits to the emergency room or lengthy hospital stays”, says Jason Rottman, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania. “The results were so life changing for our members that we knew we had to find a way to expand the offering beyond Philadelphia and the surrounding region.” 

According to Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, in Pennsylvania, 5% of people account for 50% of health care spending. MANNA’s CEO Sue Daugherty knows the circumstances behind the numbers all too well,“We have members that live in areas where affordable access to healthy food presents challenges in addition to caring for themselves as they are faced with high-risk medical conditions. Working with Aetna Better Health to provide meals statewide for its members helps MANNA to promote wellness and support people in their journey to lead healthier lives.”

With MANNA’s help, Aetna Better Health has made medically appropriate meals available to members in all 67 counties, and meals have been shipped to 190 zip codes within Pennsylvania to-date.


About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid) has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve 2.8 million people in 15 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.



MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life. A small professional staff and over 6,500 dedicated volunteers bring more than 100,000 nutritious, home‐ delivered meals each month to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life‐ threatening illnesses. MANNA dietitians promote wellness through nutrition education and counseling. Through these services, MANNA provides opportunities for caring people to extend loving support to families, friends, and neighbors. Learn more at www.mannapa.org. 


Marcia Perry
Perry Media Group