By June 9, 2017 Read More →

Bill aims to expand Medicaid nutrition services to those at risk for diabetes

By WENDY HOLDREN

The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Under current law, Medicare only covers medical nutrition therapy services for individuals already diagnosed with diabetes or renal disease.

But Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., have reintroduced the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act to extend Medicare coverage for medical nutrition therapy services for Americans with pre-diabetes and risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes.

They believe the legislation will help improve health outcomes for individuals at risk for diabetes and save long-term costs for Medicare.

“With one of the highest rates of adult diabetes in the nation and a considerable pre-diabetes population, West Virginia is no stranger to the costs and challenges associated with this disease,” Capito said. “The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act will help stem the growing rate of diabetes and reduce the one-in-three Medicare dollars being spent on it.”

Peters added, “Investing in preventative care for diabetes will save taxpayer dollars by reducing Medicare costs and help at-risk individuals live longer and healthier lives.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 30 million Americans or 9.3 percent of the population have diabetes and approximately 86 million American adults, roughly 30 percent of the population, have pre-diabetes.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $2.5 billion in hospitalization costs related to the treatment of diabetes or complications resulting from diabetes could be saved by providing seniors with appropriate preventive care.

Medical nutrition therapy includes an initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment, review of eating habits, one-on-one nutritional counseling and follow-up visits to check on patients’ progress in managing their diet to prevent or manage their condition.

The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act has broad support from major health care groups, including Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Spectrum Health, Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, Food is Medicine Coalition, Healthcare Leadership Council, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs and Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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