The Academy’s strategic plan’s focus areas of prevention and well-being, health care and health system, and food and nutrition safety and security inform our advocacy efforts. Here are a few of the many issues we are advocating for to advance food and nutrition policy:
The coronavirus 2019 (COVD-19) pandemic has magnified health disparities. To help mitigate the effect it has had on ethnic minority groups, we have an important role to play in advocating for the enactment of public policies intended to increase access to health care, healthful food, and culturally appropriate nutrition interventions.
Food insecurity significantly influences the health and well-being of individuals and is a risk factor for negative psychological and health outcomes. It also increases the prevalence and severity of diet-related disease.
Access to nutrition care through Medicare is one tool that can help prevent, manage, and treat many chronic conditions. Passage of the bicameral, bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy Act would provide Medicare Part B coverage of outpatient medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for prediabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, celiac disease, human immunodeficiency syndrome/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and any other disease or condition causing unintentional weight loss. The bill would also allow the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to further expand access to MNT without additional action from Congress and would allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT.
School nutrition programs and Child and Adult Care Food Program centers rely on reimbursement from meal service to pay for expenses. Many of these institutions maintained or incurred more expenses than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic while seeing a significant decrease in revenues from lower meal participation during school and business closures. To sustain these essential programs while protecting jobs and precious education resources, support must be provided to make programs financially solvent and to maintain the integrity of essential food security programs as the recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Licensure laws assure the public, health insurers and other payors, and state and federal governments that nutrition care is provided by knowledgeable, credentialed experts like you. We believe MNT and other complex services should be provided only by individuals who have at minimum the specialized education and training of RDNs or meet state licensure standards. Our efforts are also focused on reducing the dangers of unscientific, medically unnecessary treatment by requiring that individuals practicing nutrition and dietetics are qualified to do so.