Medical Nutrition Therapy Act

Summary

  • First Introduced: 2020
  • Introduced as the "Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 (H.R. 6971/S.4504)." Read the House bill and the Senate bill.

Key Points

According to the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 90% of the nation's $3.5 trillion annual health care expenditures is spent on treating chronic and mental health conditions. Care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions is especially costly in the Medicare population, with more than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries having multiple chronic conditions.

Recent evidence also indicates that many diet-related chronic diseases are contributing to poor outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Expanded access to MNT is especially important for minority populations that have long faced chronic disease health disparities due to socioeconomic inequalities and reduced access to health care, healthful foods and safe places to be active. These communities are now being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as well.

MNT is an effective solution. MNT has been shown to be a cost-effective component of treatment for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, HIV infection, unintended weight loss in older adults and other chronic conditions. Counseling provided by an RDN as part of a health care team can positively impact weight, blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar control. Despite this evidence, Medicare currently only covers out-patient MNT for patients with diabetes, renal disease, or post-kidney transplant.

The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 allows Medicare beneficiaries to access the care they need by providing Medicare Part B coverage for MNT for:

  • Prediabetes;
  • Obesity;
  • Hypertension; 
  • Dyslipidemia;
  • Malnutrition;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Cancer;
  • Celiac disease;
  • HIV/AIDS; and
  • Any other disease or condition causing unintentional weight loss.

The MNT Act also allows the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to expand coverage for MNT to other disease or condition as determined medically necessary. In addition, this piece of legislation authorizes nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT.

More Information

Download the Academy's Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 issue brief and leave behind for more information.

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