Academy Supports the Nutrition CARE Act

11/20/2019 — The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends the introduction of the Nutrition Counseling Aiding Recovery for Eating Disorders Act (S. 2907) in the 116th United States Congress. The Nutrition CARE Act would instruct Medicare to cover medical nutrition therapy for individuals with eating disorders.

More than 30 million people of all ages and genders in the United States are affected by eating disorders during their lifetime. Despite this staggering statistic, it is reported that only one-third of individuals with eating disorders receive treatment. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, these conditions have one of the highest mortality rates of all psychiatric conditions.

"Eating disorders can lead to heart failure, neurological conditions, skeletal erosion, kidney disease, and a wide array of psychological comorbidities," said April N. Hackert, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Chair of the Academy's Behavioral Health Nutrition dietetic practice group. "Medicare coverage for MNT provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist will offer clients the comprehensive nutrition therapy services necessary for recovery from an eating disorder."

Under this new legislation, Medicare will cover MNT services to treat eating disorders, including a minimum of 13 hours of coverage during the first year of treatment. After the first year, individuals will receive four hours of coverage annually.

The Nutrition CARE Act was introduced by Sens. Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). A companion bill in the House was introduced by Reps. Judy Chu (Calif.) and Jackie Walorski (Ind.).