Academy Urges Swift Passage of Bill That Would Increase Access to Nutrition Care

May 11, 2021

CHICAGO – While millions of people with serious, chronic medical conditions – especially older Americans and people from racial and ethnic minority populations – could achieve potentially life-changing benefits from nutrition care services provided by registered dietitian nutritionists, Medicare currently covers nutrition therapy only for people with kidney disease and diabetes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports expanding these services – known as medical nutrition therapy – to cover additional conditions to provide Medicare beneficiaries with the care they need and deserve to live healthy, independent lives.

The Academy thanks U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Gary Peters (Mich.) and U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly (Ill.) and Fred Upton (Mich.) for their ongoing support for the health of Americans by introducing the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021. The Academy strongly supports passage of the MNT Act, which was originally introduced in 2020.

"Over the past year, the world has seen the devastating connections between obesity, diabetes and other diet-related chronic diseases and poor outcomes from COVID-19, especially among people from racial and ethnic minority populations," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Linda T. Farr.

"While we cannot go back in time and prepare better for the pandemic, we can look ahead and make a national commitment to comprehensive chronic disease prevention and treatment. The Academy thanks Senators Collins and Peters and Representatives Kelly and Upton for their ongoing commitment to improving the health of our nation and their support for access to medical nutrition therapy."

Under the bill, MNT coverage under Medicare Part B would be extended to people with:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases including celiac disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hypertension
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Prediabetes
  • Unintentional weight loss.

"Providing access to MNT by registered dietitian nutritionists is just one of many steps we need to take to address health equity in the United States," Farr said. "Swiftly passing the MNT Act of 2021 will help ensure people have equitable access to the health care they deserve."

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Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, 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 at www.eatright.org.