New Bill to Support Medical Nutrition Therapy for Medical Conditions under Medicare
In support of me, my business, my family, and my profession, even though this may not directly affect you, please read the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020, H.R.6971. It was introduced to the House 5/22/2020. At this time, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is urging nutrition professionals to support this Bill. AND is the professional academy who supports Registered Dietitians (RD) and Dietetic Technicians Registered (DTR) and promotes us as the nutrition professionals. We are the only professionals educated and specifically qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT).
This bill will expand MNT coverage under Medicare to include obesity, prediabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, celiac disease, HIV/AIDS, and any other disease which relates to unintentional weight loss. This part is amazing! Currently, the only MNT coverage for Medicare Part B is for those who have diabetes, kidney disease, and are post kidney transplant. This could help a lot of people who need MNT but cannot get it because it is not covered by their insurance and/or cannot afford it. How can this relate to you? Well, insurance companies usually follow Medicare changes so if you do not have MNT coverage now, your insurance company may incorporate these changes into your plan in the future if this Bill is passed. Also, if you are not now on Medicare, at some point, you will be and you will want this coverage if you have any of the above diseases.
In addition to the expanded coverage, there is language in this Bill that will allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and clinical psychologists (for eating disorders) to refer to RDs for MNT services. In the insurance billing world, this is huge for RDs because before, we could only accept referrals from MD's in order for insurance to be used (under specific plans) and payable for MNT.
Please support this bill! Write to your representatives and congressmen and urge them to as well. This not only helps those who are on Medicare and have other medical conditions, but also helps expand nutrition coverage under independent insurance carriers in the future. Which means, more opportunities (with less anxiety over payments) to visit your local dietitian!!!