Medical Nutrition Therapy
DAA activities in support of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) include:
- Advocating for improvements to MNT coverage in Medicare for people diagnosed with diabetes• Advocating for coverage of MNT for people with prediabetes
- Advocating for equitable access to MNT services for all people with diagnosed diabetes and those with prediabetes
MNT is an evidence-based service provided by registered dietitian nutritionists and other nutrition professionals that includes nutrition assessment/reassessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring, and evaluation. The goal of MNT is to prevent, delay, or manage a wide array of diseases and conditions.
More than two-thirds of Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, delayed, treated, or managed through nutrition.
Individuals from many racial and ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, and more, and many of these diseases are linked to poorer COVID-19 outcomes.
Currently, Medicare Part B only covers medical nutrition therapy for beneficiaries with diabetes or a renal disease, even when medically necessary for the treatment of other diseases and conditions. CMS does not have the authority to expand the benefit to include other diagnoses, so a legislative solution is required.
Some DAA members are advocating for passage of the Medicare Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021 (S. 1536; H.R. 3108), which would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to expand the availability of medical nutrition therapy services under the Medicare program.
This legislation makes necessary changes to help increase access to the MNT benefit to better meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and prediabetes.
- Expands Medicare Part B coverage of MNT to include diagnosed prediabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, gastrointestinal disease including celiac disease, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, and unintentional weight loss.
- Allows HHS Secretary to further expand the MNT benefit to other diseases and conditions based on clinical guidelines or recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force.
- Allows nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT.
- S. 1536; Sponsors: Collins (R-ME), Peters (D-MI)
- H.R. 3108; Sponsors: Kelly (D, IL), Upton (R-MI)
To co-sponsor, please contact:
- Sen. Collins: Maria Olson (Maria_Olson@aging.senate.gov)
- Sen. Peters: Darian Burrell-Clay (Darian_Burrell-Clay@peters.senate.gov)
- Rep. Kelly: Anita Burgos (Anita.Burgos@mail.house.gov)
- Rep. Upton: Mark Ratner (Mark.Ratner@mail.house.gov)