Health Campaigns and Legislation Updates: News You Can Use

Here at Healthy Bytes, keeping an eye on pending healthcare legislation is important to us – from time to time, we pass along relevant, newsworthy healthcare news, legislation and/or campaigns that may be of interest to you. Here are a few recent notable healthcare updates that you may find useful in your private practice or nutrition business.

Mental Health Awareness

As an RDN or CNS, you may find that more and more, behavioral and mental health issues arise during your nutrition counseling sessions. While respecting scope of practice, it is still important to hear and document any mental health topics that arise, or when appropriate, to refer your client to an appropriate mental health practitioner.

While rates of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and suicide continue to increase in the U.S., mental health may still not be receiving the attention it deserves. The Mental Health Federal Parity Law requires insurers to cover mental illness similarly to illnesses of the body, chronic disease, etc. The Don’t Deny Me campaign urges equal coverage of physical illness and mental illness; you may wish to familiarize yourself with its contents to learn more about the rights of your clients and what you can do to help advocate for their care.

Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

The 2019 update to the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act removes barriers to allow RDNs to effectively treat obesity through Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) and authorize coverage for FDA-approved weight loss medications. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that research demonstrates that after two years, patients who received IBT from a dietitian are twice as likely to achieve clinically significant weight loss, experience greater average weight loss, and exercise more than patients who did not receive IBT.

The bill also provides for “…interdisciplinary care that increases efficiency and efficacy, which improves health care quality and reduces costs.” Both Healthy Bytes and the Academy encourage you to familiarize yourself with this bill’s contents and to show your support for this bill.

State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Updates

View the updated 2019 State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Report from the Center for Connected Health Policy to read policy updates pertaining to your telehealth services. The report contains updates to the number of states reimbursing for Medicaid, as well as states that revised policies to expand reimbursement to additional provider types and/or originating sites.

Fifteen states and Washington D.C. now allow schools to serve as originating sites for counseling, and 14 states now allow the home to operate as the originating site. Take a look at the updated report, and reach out to your Healthy Bytes billing allies if you have any questions about telehealth policies or any of the campaigns and acts described above!