Meet The Expert: Susan Paredez

Today we're looking forward to sharing the expertise of Susan Paredez, MS, RD, CDN, with you. Susan works as the Clinical Nutrition Coordinator at UHS Hospitals in Johnson City, New York, and also serves as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Reimbursement Representative for the State of NY.

We hope you enjoy reading this educational interview!

Why did you get started in nutrition / become an RDN?

My family has always been interested in nutrition. My oldest sister's roommate was studying dietetics in college and my parents suggested I look into that major. Frankly, I really had no idea what a dietitian did. I just wanted to go to college and graduate! My first job was as a hospital dietitian and I am still at the same facility, now as a clinical manager.

What makes your niche special?

Reimbursement is a specialty area and there are not a lot of private practice RDNs. Reimbursement differs between states and is changing. I am in an inpatient setting with one outpatient RDN and am not involved much in the billing aspect. Luckily, I now have two private practice RDNs on my NYSAND reimbursement committee to help answer private practice questions.

We'd love to hear more about the AND reimbursement online community and your role as a Reimbursement Representative in NY.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides training and resources for state Reimbursement Reps who are then available to answer any questions. They provide frequent updates on national reimbursement activities.

What resources would you point RDNs to pertaining to insurance and reimbursement?

The AND website has lots of insurance and reimbursement info. The NYSAND website has some good resources as well. Be in touch with your state rep with any questions that you have:

What changes do you hope to see in the field of nutrition reimbursement?

I hope Medicare will expand its reimbursement for medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to include more diagnoses. Also, I hope to see Medicaid cover MNT in all states for a variety of diagnoses.

What insurance considerations are unique to the state of NY?

In NY, we have a challenge because Medicaid does not reimburse for MNT. And Gov. Cuomo's initiatives to improve healthcare for Medicaid recipients presents a unique opportunity for RDNs to get involved. This initiative is called "DSRIP" (Delivery System Reform Incentive Program) whose goal is to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and ED visits by Medicaid recipients. This could be a model for the future of healthcare in this country. More info on this on the NYSAND website in the reimbursement section. Also, need to get Licensure in NY to help move along reimbursement.

What’s your favorite piece of advice you have received?

I have received so much advice over the years that has been valuable. As an RDN, you don't know everything about nutrition and need to foster connections and contacts (i.e. "dial a friend"), as well as have a mentor.