The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act (H.R.3108/S.1536) was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in May 2021. At present, only MNT for diabetes and renal disease are reimbursed by Medicare, and only physicians can refer patients for outpatient MNT services. If passed, this bill would expand Medicare Part B coverage of conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity and other conditions based upon medical necessity. It would also allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer patients.
How will this help Massachusetts seniors?4-9
Latest estimates from 2019 and 2020 show that:
- 1,349,512 adults were enrolled in Medicare/Medicare Advantage programs
- 507,000 (9.3%) of adults had diagnosed diabetes
- 144,000 adults had diabetes but were unaware
- 1,743,000 adults (31.8%) had prediabetes
- 25.2% of the adult population had obesity and 29.3% of those 65+ years
- 28.1% of the adult population had hypertension and 56.1% of those 65+ years
What MAND is doing to increase access to MNT?
MAND’s Public Policy Panel has been holding virtual meetings with our members of Congress to educate them on this evidence-based and cost-effective component of medical treatment for obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic conditions. We are emphasizing that a key component of chronic disease in the U.S. is low access to preventative health care services and resultant health inequities that in many communities, especially those of color, are contributing to poor COVID-19 outcomes.10-16
Other important facts
MNT services are sadly underutilized due lack of awareness of the coverage and benefits of MNT, the need for a physician referral, the difficulty in locating an RDN and restrictive pre-COVID telehealth requirements.
Won’t you join us in asking our members of Congress to support this federal legislation so important to the health of millions of U.S. seniors? If you have not yet done so, please take action by completing the Academy’s action alert: https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/take-action/action-center
Please email Sarah Conca at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Sarah Conca, MPA, RDN, LDN is MAND’s Director of Public Policy. Sarah has worked supporting the education, engagement and advocacy work of MAND’s Public Policy Panel and Board of Directors for ten years.
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