The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act Explained


May 22, 2023

The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act Explained

Understanding the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act and Its Impact on Medicare Benefits

Ever wondered if your Medicare benefits cover visits to a nutritionist? The answer is yes, but only in very specific situations. Now, there's a new proposal, the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act (MNT Act), that's hoping to broaden those benefits. The MNT Act is one of the legislative initiates that is supported by the National Kidney Foundation.

The Basics of the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act

The MNT Act was first proposed in 2020 and brought up again in 2021. It's designed to extend the existing nutrition therapy benefits that Medicare recipients get. Right now, these benefits are only available to people diagnosed with diabetes, kidney disease that doesn't require dialysis (stage 3 and above), and up to 36 months after a kidney transplant if a doctor has referred the patient. The MNT Act is looking to change that.

What Would Change if the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act Passes?

This new law would extend nutrition therapy benefits to people with a wide variety of health conditions. This includes pre-diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, gastrointestinal diseases like celiac disease, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and any other conditions that cause unintended weight loss.

Supporters of the Act, like former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Lucille Beseler, believe that it's a win-win situation. It helps individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes, for example, make necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle, and in the long run, it saves money and improves the person's life.

Furthermore, the Act would give the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to extend nutrition therapy benefits to other conditions as they see fit.

Why Should We Care About the MNT Act?

Krista Yoder Latortue, founder of a nutrition counseling provider named Family Food, believes the MNT Act is vital because it increases access to reliable nutrition information and medical nutrition therapy. This is particularly crucial for vulnerable groups like the elderly.

The Nitty-Gritty of the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act

This Act (S. 1536/H.R. 3108) is a bi-partisan bill, which means it has support from both major political parties. It aims to improve access to nutritional services for Medicare beneficiaries. The bill was introduced by several representatives and senators during the 117th Congress (2021-2022).

The Act focuses on offering evidence-based nutrition and health equity. As of July 31, 2022, it has eight Congressional supporters from various political backgrounds, but still, no official votes have taken place.

Is the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act Worth the Cost?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics argues that the MNT Act is indeed worth the cost. They've provided evidence to Congress that shows how nutrition therapy can prevent complications and improve life quality for those with chronic health conditions.

In addition, recent studies show that poor nutrition is linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes. Also, offering nutrition therapy could help reduce health disparities in minority communities who often face higher rates of nutrition-related chronic diseases. As a result, the Act could also play a role in promoting health equity.

Show Your Support

If you would like to show your support, contact your representative and let them know that you support the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act. You can find your local representative here.

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About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

Patient Education Disclaimer

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.

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