September 26 Briefing on Malnutrition to Highlight Need for Medical Intervention

September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Congressional briefing on "The Growing Crisis of Malnutrition in Older Adults," organized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in cooperation with DefeatMalnutrition.Today coalition, will take place at 9:30 a.m., September 26, at 385 Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The briefing, for Congressional staff, the coalition and the public, will address the current state of health care delivery for adults with malnutrition in the United States; malnutrition's effect on health care costs; and interventions that could help reduce incidents of malnutrition and improve the quality of life for adult patients. U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (Va.) is scheduled to attend and offer opening remarks.

Up to 60 percent of older adults go untreated for malnutrition when they are admitted to hospitals because they were not properly diagnosed. This lack of diagnosis often leads to costly readmissions. An estimated $51.3 billion is spent annually on disease-associated malnutrition in older adults, according to the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. The Academy, with the DefeatMalnutriton.Today coalition, want to change that, through the endorsement of new electronic clinical quality measures by the National Quality Forum and acceptance by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services into their reporting programs. Both are reviewing these measures. A study conducted by Abbott Laboratories' nutrition division and University of Illinois estimates that more than $15 billion is spent in direct medical costs on malnutrition associated with eight diseases, which for individual states could mean an additional $25 million to $1.7 billion yearly.

Speakers at the briefing will include registered dietitian nutritionists representing the Academy and other partner organizations:

  • Sharon McCauley, MS, MBA, RDN, LDN, FADA, FAND, senior director of quality management, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cecelia Pozo Fileti, MS, RD, FADA, director of the Latino Integrative Nutrition Initiative
  • Peggy Guenter, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior director of clinical practice, quality and advocacy, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)
  • Eleni Towns, manager of legislative affairs, Feeding America

"Registered dietitian nutritionists can make a difference in patient outcomes by providing a low-risk, low-cost solution to managing chronic illnesses in adult patients," said Lucille Beseler, president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a practicing clinician who frequently works with individuals and families experiencing malnutrition.

"Gaining acceptance into the federal Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program ensures that adult hospitalized patients are properly evaluated, diagnosed and accounted for, and provides our industry the opportunity make a greater contribution in improving health care delivery," Beseler said.

This event will kick off Malnutrition Awareness Week and the Academy's Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where registered dietitian nutritionists, health care professionals, advocates and private sector stakeholders will visit more than 60 Congressional offices and encourage all members to support the measures with a sign-on letter.

U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Cory Booker (N.J.); and U.S. Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.) and Rodney Davis (Ill.) are also advocates for the addition of these quality measures through their support of the letter campaign to the agencies.

The eCQMs were developed through the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii), a project of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Avalere Health, and other stakeholders who provided thought leadership and clinical expertise through a collaborative partnership. Support for this initiative was provided by Abbott.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at eatright.org.