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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advocates for expanded nutritional coverage under Medicare
Date:12/18/2011

Philadelphia, PA -- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has prepared a request to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for specific diseases, including hypertension, obesity, and cancer, as part of the CMS National Coverage Determination (NCD) Process. Most chronic health conditions can be controlled or treated with medical nutrition therapy, yet Medicare will only reimburse nutrition therapy services provided by a registered dietitian for individuals with diabetes and renal disease. "That's just not enough if we want to improve the health of the nation and rein in escalating healthcare costs," says Marsha Schofield, MS, RD, LD, the Academy's Director of Nutrition Services Coverage.

Under the NCD Process, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services can expand Medicare coverage for services that are reasonable and necessary for the prevention of an illness. Ms. Schofield explains, "There are an escalating number of baby boomers turning 65 and entering the Medicare system. The majority of Medicare spending is on individuals with chronic conditions, and almost 70% of Medicare beneficiaries suffer from cardiovascular disease. Chronic conditions can be controlled or treated with medical nutrition therapy, so it just makes sense to try to expand the Medicare beneficiary's access to these important services."

The Academy's NCD request is published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and it presents evidence from over 20 scientific studies that demonstrate the health benefits and cost effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy, provided by registered dietitians, in older adults with several diseases and conditions. The evidence is grouped into three sections: cardiovascular disease, including the treatment of high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart failure; disease progression, including o
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Contact: Eileen Leahy
adajmedia@elsevier.com
732-238-3628
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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