Legislation Would Strengthen Food Retailers as Health and Well-being Destinations 

Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association applauded the introduction of the bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) Act in both the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL) and Jen Kiggans (R-VA) and in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Gary Peters (D-MI). The MNT Act would increase access to counseling by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) for Medicare beneficiaries to help prevent, delay and manage chronic disease and diet-related medical conditions. FMI Senior Director, Health and Well-being Krystal Register offered the following statement:

“Food retailers are uniquely positioned to provide nutrition counseling services to customers in the same location that they purchase their groceries and medications, making the grocery store a destination for health and well-being. Counseling provided by RDNs as part of a health care team ensures the best possible nutrition-related health outcomes and can positively impact weight, blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar control.

“The positive health outcomes of MNT have been repeatedly studied and documented. Currently, however, Medicare only covers outpatient MNT services for diabetes and kidney disease, which means millions of seniors and other beneficiaries are either forced to pay out-of-pocket for nutrition care services or left without access to comprehensive care. Increased access to MNT would be a cost-effective way to help tens of millions of seniors who suffer from one or more diet-related chronic conditions.

“FMI is proud to support the bipartisan Medical Nutrition Therapy Act, which would expand Medicare MNT coverage to include a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. Importantly, the legislation would also grow the list of qualified providers authorized to refer their patients for MNT, adding nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists.

“We thank Reps. Kelly and Kiggans as well as Sens. Collins and Peters for introducing this important legislation to address a significant gap in health support services for consumers. FMI’s government relations team looks forward to working with them and Congressional leadership to ensure this critical bill is passed in the 118th Congress.”