Medical Nutrition Therapy Act introduce

5/12/2021, 5:35 p.m.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) introduced the bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021 to expand coverage for medical nutrition plans under Medicare and combat health disparities.

“What we eat and drink affects nearly every aspect of our wellbeing and how our bodies respond to illness and disease,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. “Medical nutrition therapy is a proven method to help manage and alleviate symptoms of many chronic illnesses and disease, and we should ensure that everyone who could benefit from this kind of treatment has affordable access to it. Expanding access for nutrition therapy is especially important in our quest to end health disparities as many minority and underserved populations have long faced adverse health outcomes resulting from reduced access to healthcare, healthy foods and exercise. I am looking forward to working with my colleague Congressman Upton and others to expand access to this important treatment.”

"We know that a balanced diet is critical to leading a healthy lifestyle, and medical nutrition therapy offers patients - particularly folks on Medicare - an opportunity to do just that through natural pathways," said Congressman Upton. "The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act will expand this successful health regiment and help treat certain chronic illnesses through tailored nutrition plans approved and administered by physicians and dieticians. The health and wellbeing of folks in Southwest Michigan and around the country remains a top priority for me, and medical nutrition therapy offers a revolutionary approach to improve health outcomes for a number of illnesses."

Medicare currently only covers medical nutrition therapy for individuals with diabetes or a renal disease. The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act would allow Medicare beneficiaries greater access to a registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) by expanding the availability of nutrition services under Medicare Part B to include the following diseases: diabetes and pre-diabetes; renal disease; obesity; hypertension; dyslipidemia; malnutrition; eating disorders; cancer; gastrointestinal disease; including celiac disease; HIV and AIDS; cardiovascular disease; and any other disease or condition specified by the Secretary relating to unintentional weight loss.

The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act would also authorize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer their patients for medical nutrition therapy.