Reintroduced Medical Nutrition Therapy Act could boost food as medicine movement

The legislation​ would expand Medicare Part B coverage of outpatient medical nutrition therapy services, including counselling provided by registered dietitian nutritionists to help prevent, delay and manage diet-related medical conditions, to prediabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, gastrointestinal diseases like Celiac, and heart disease.

Currently, Medicare Part B only covers outpatient MNT for diabetes, renal disease and post-kidney transplant, which expert national organizations argue is a disservice to patients and can compound unnecessary health care costs.

The MNT Act was previously introduced in 2020 and 2021, but did not receive a vote.

The Celiac Disease Foundation, which is among 40 national groups that support the legislation, explained in a statement, “our patient and caregiver community consistently share how difficult it is to adopt and follow a gluten-free diet in a food ecosystem that includes gluten in more than 80% of its products – while also maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.  Healthcare providers strongly recommend counselling by dietitians skilled in celiac disease and research shows that counselling from a registered dietitian or other nutrition professional is essential for the well-being of our community.”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics add in a statement that the legislation, if passed, would have a “rippling effect on the health of Americans across the country, especially among people from racial and ethnic minority populations.”

Leave a Comment