Medical Nutrition Therapy Beneficial for People With Diabetes/Kidney Disease

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August 16, 2012 by Sheila Egbert, R.D.

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is used by Registered Dietitians (RD) to prevent or alter the course of certain diseases. Patients with diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and chronic kidney disease can improve their health and quality of life by receiving MNT interventions. Health professionals agree that nutrition services are one of the first treatments that individuals should receive to improve such conditions.

The RD will spend time reviewing what a person eats and their eating habits. Once a thorough review of their nutritional health is completed, the RD will assist with setting nutrition goals to improve their health. A personalized nutrition plan is developed, and the RD will counsel the patient on behavioral and lifestyle changes that can affect their long-term eating habits and health. Patients benefit from this comprehensive cost-effective means of care.

The good news for consumers is that MNT is covered by a variety of insurance plans. Consumers covered by the Medicare Part B Program can receive nutrition services to improve their health. This program covers MNT for certain conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease. Beneficiaries may be eligible for at least 3 hours of MNT in the first year of care and 2 hours of MNT in each additional year.  This on-going comprehensive care can be of great benefit to those trying to establish and maintain the necessary lifestyle changes. The follow-up sessions are also an appropriate time to see if changes have occurred in their nutritional status and if modifications are needed in the treatment plan.

Consumers should check with their insurance plan for specific MNT coverage details.  Ask your doctor if a referral for MNT is right for you. Or, contact a RD at SMC to discuss this benefit.
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