Q My husband is trying to control his Type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise. Does any insurance cover professional help with nutrition?
A Start with your doctor. Diabetes care includes access to the services of
a Registered Dietitian (RD) covered by insurance. Medicare Part B covers “Medical Nutrition Therapy” when ordered by your doctor and provided by someone with the appropriate credential.
The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the organization that oversees U.S. credentialing programs for registered dietitians. RDs are licensed in most states, but a license is not required. The amount and type of education is the threshold for RDs because dietetics is the practical science of nutrition, where physiology, healthy eating, and shopping /cooking intersect.
RDs make suggestions based on diagnosis (i.e., diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease,
pregnancy, obesity) and lifestyle, such as cooking skills and food preferences. RDs
teach you how to maintain proper nutrition while balancing medical conditions and aging. Another advantage is that the RD meets with the patient to find out what grocers are nearby and what cooking facilities are available.
Putting together a diet plan for someone who has diabetes, for example, requires the RD to understand the target range of blood sugars, the level of physical activity, and pattern of blood sugars during the day and night. This is difficult to do on your own and takes time to figure out, so most dietitians will meet with clients over the course of a month or two, or sporadically throughout the year.
RDs can also help clients expand their culinary repertoire by adding flavorings to food and suggesting alternatives never before considered. They also act as a support for the changes clients are trying to make. Some RDs lead support groups where they teach approaches like mindful eating.
Good for you for taking charge of your diet and making positive, and mindful, changes in your nutritional health!
Medicare Benefits Handbook, available at: http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/nutrition-therapy-services.html
“About Us” at www.eatrightpro.org/resources/about-us offers a very interesting history of the profession and offers a national database of providers.
“Why Hungry Seniors Aren’t Getting Enough to Eat”