On August 8, 2020, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation, S. 4504, to expand Medicare beneficiaries’ access to Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), which is a cost-effective component of treatment for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and other chronic conditions.

In May this year, U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and U.S. Congressman Peter King (R-NY) introduced a companion bill, H.R. 6971, in the House of Representatives.

The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 would expand Medicare Part B coverage of outpatient medical nutrition therapy services to a number of currently uncovered diseases or conditions—including  celiac disease, prediabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.  Currently, Medicare Part B only covers outpatient MNT for diabetes, renal disease, and post-kidney transplant.  The legislation would also allow more types of providers—including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and psychologists—to refer patients to MNT.

Currently, Medicare covers MNT for individuals with diabetes or kidney disease under certain circumstances; such services must also be provided by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional pursuant to a physician referral.

H.R. 6971 and S. 4504 would extend coverage to individuals with other diseases and conditions, including celiac disease.  Under the legislation, MNT may also be referred by a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or (for eating disorders) a clinical psychologist.

Please join us in asking your Members of Congress to cosponsor this important piece of legislation to make medical nutrition therapy visits, a recommended tool for dietary adherence, covered for Medicare beneficiaries.