We've learned our ABCs decades ago, but learning the 3 Cs of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) may be a lesson that was less apparent until recent developments within MNT policy issues. Coverage, codes, and compensation are the three Cs that contribute to the delivery and application of MNT services. MNT coverage can be viewed as the foundation for the public's access to nutrition services provided by registered dietitians. The evidence is clear that MNT works and has been proven effective in saving lives, preventing diseases, improving the public's quality of care, and saving millions of dollars in health care costs. ADA's efforts to secure MNT coverage have gained momentum with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences' recent recommendations that medical nutrition therapy--with physician referral--be a covered benefit under the Medicare program . Bipartisan support of the Medicare MNT Act (HR 1187 and S 660) has also elevated the issue among the legislative body.
Beyond Medicare coverage
Although the Medicare MNT Act targets nutrition services for individuals covered by Medicare, certain MNT services are already covered benefits in many state Medicaid programs. State legislators have also been instrumental in some parts of the country by passing laws that mandate coverage of diabetes self-management training, including medical nutrition therapy provided by registered dietitians. Even though there is no consistent pattern of MNT coverage within the private sector, passage of the Medicare MNT Act may also prompt additional coverage among this group.
ADA member and staff efforts to market MNT to managed care organizations and employers have resulted in MNT coverage within many insurance companies' plans. Aetna US Healthcare provides MNT coverage …