Health Tech, Payers

Heali Contracts With California Medicaid, Unveils Medical Nutrition Therapy Tool

Heali’s new Medical Nutrition Therapy tool offers patients and providers access to a library of evidence-based dietary recommendations.

Food as medicine platform Heali is now enrolled with Medicaid fee-for-service in California and has launched its Medical Nutrition Therapy tool, the startup shared with MedCity News exclusively.

Los Angeles-based Heali launched in November and offers an AI-driven app that provides personalized nutrition plans for more than 200 chronic conditions, including pre-diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Crohn’s and mental health. These plans take into account the user’s goals, preferences, weight, activity level and dietary restrictions. 

Heali’s contract with Medicaid in California is its first public healthcare partnership. It is also contracted with Blue Shield of California on the commercial side and works with several provider organizations, including Boston Heart Diagnostics. The company aims to work with more Medicaid programs in the future, according to Kyle Dardashti, founder and CEO of Heali.

“The government public sector is seeing the value of medical nutrition therapy, not only because it has such a profound impact for metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes or even-pre diabetes, but that it extends much wider than that,” Dardashti said in an interview. “They are now reimbursing for conditions anywhere between gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s or an IBS but also even neurological conditions. These conditions traditionally in the past were never covered by the public payer system.”

Heali has also unveiled its Medical Nutrition Therapy tool, which is available on its app and offers patients and providers access to a library of evidence-based dietary recommendations categorized by condition. The company has done systematic reviews of 239 conditions and has gathered research on the evidence-based nutrition protocols for those conditions. Users can select one or multiple conditions and then see all of the effective dietary protocols for the conditions. They can also review the research for themselves.

“It’s extremely valuable for providers who are treating multiple different condition states or patients who are maybe polychronic with different conditions that [the provider] is not a specialist in,” Dardashti said. “Secondly, [it’s valuable] for the patient to be able to see it for themselves and then have the tools to adhere to those dietary recommendations.”

The tool was previously only available for internal use with Heali dietitians. It is now available to any patient or provider on the Heali app. It’s being offered for free for a limited time but is going to have a paywall on it in the near future, Dardashti said.

He added that Heali aims to prove that food can be an effective tool to prevent, treat and manage disease.

“The way that we do that is by leading with the research and ensuring that the diets we’re recommending to patients are the ones that are evidence-backed, and by winning the trust of the patient by making that research available to them,” Dardashti declared.

Photo: fcafotodigital, Getty Images