Health and Fitness, Local, Medical, National, Park Forest, Science

National Legislators Offer Bipartisan, Bicameral Medical Nutrition Therapy Act

Rep. Kelly and Colleagues Reach Across the Aisles and Halls of Congress.

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) introduced the bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2023 to expand Medicare coverage for medical nutrition plans and address health disparities. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Susan Collins (ME) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“Our nutrition has a profound impact on our overall well-being 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 for managing and alleviating symptoms of many chronic illnesses and diseases. Congress must ensure affordable access to this treatment. Expanding access to nutrition therapy is particularly crucial in our ongoing efforts to eliminate health disparities, as many minority and underserved populations have long experienced adverse health outcomes due to limited access to healthcare, healthy foods, and opportunities for exercise. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Kiggans and Senators Peters and Collins on the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act to expand access to this vital health treatment.”

Medical Nutrition Act, Medicare

Congresswoman Kiggans

“As a geriatric nurse practitioner, I have seen the positive impacts that medical nutrition plans can have on patient outcomes, especially my older adult population,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “Many of our aging Americans – particularly those battling serious diseases – rely on Medicare for the majority of their healthcare. Unfortunately, lack of coverage and knowledge of medical nutrition programs have discouraged many individuals from seeking this treatment. I’m proud to join my colleagues on the bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy Act. It will address this lapse in coverage and ensure our older adults have access to proven and reliable assistance!”

Senator Peters

“Taking steps to strengthen preventive care for diabetes and other chronic conditions could help at-risk individuals live longer and healthier lives,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation in the Senate to expand access to critical medical services for Michiganders and millions of Americans while helping to lower Medicare costs for all taxpayers.”

Senator Collins

“Medical Nutrition Therapy is an effective strategy for improving disease management and prevention among older Americans,” said Senator Collins. “By expanding Medicare Part B coverage of Medical Nutrition Therapy services, our bipartisan bill would improve both health outcomes and overall quality of life while lowering unnecessary health care costs for older Americans in Maine and throughout the country.”

Greater Access to Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)

As it stands, Medicare only covers medical nutrition therapy for individuals with diabetes or renal disease. The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2023 will provide Medicare beneficiaries greater access to registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). It will expand the availability of nutrition services under Medicare Part B. This expansion would include coverage for the following diseases:

  • diabetes and prediabetes;
  • renal disease; obesity;
  • hypertension;
  • dyslipidemia;
  • malnutrition;
  • eating disorders;
  • cancer;
  • gastrointestinal diseases, including celiac disease;
  • HIV and AIDS;
  • cardiovascular disease;

and any other disease or condition the Secretary specifies related to unintentional weight loss.

Furthermore, the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act will authorize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and psychologists to refer patients for medical nutrition therapy.

Marilyn G. Geller, CEO of the Celiac Disease Foundation

“The Celiac Disease Foundation is proud to support the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act again. 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 maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Healthcare providers strongly recommend counseling by dietitians skilled in celiac disease, and research shows that counseling from a registered dietician or other nutrition professional is essential for the well-being of our community. We urge members of Congress to pass this important legislation this session,” said Marilyn G. Geller, CEO of the Celiac Disease Foundation.