Public Policy

We urge you to use the resources provided by the Academy to ensure that your elected officials in Washington, D.C. know your views as both voters and nutritional and food professionals. Your activism is extremely important to the success of our agenda — and there are numerous ways to get involved. Please visit the Academy Action Center and contact your legislators. It is VERY EASY to complete action alerts!  


Winter 2017-2018 Update

Hello members! This update comes on the heels of the Academy’s Centennial Celebration and another successful Food and Nutrition Conference (FNCE®) in Chicago. FNCE was jam packed Saturday through Tuesday with several sessions per day. Of course, there were several public policy sessions and a great opportunity to learn more about public policy, public health and nutrition. The following are some recent activities Congress has been working on with more information to come as soon as we get the updates. Click on the intiatives below to read more in the Public Policy Corner in the winter newsletter. 

So please start or continue to take action! Follow these steps: log in to the Academy website and look under the Grassroots Manager heading. There you will find the information and templates to write letters to Congress. Whether you can attend the workshop or not, I urge you to please contact your Congress members and ask them to support these crucial bills. It is imperative they hear from us because if not us, then who?


Summer 2017 Update

Since being sworn into office in January, President Trump and Congress continue setting in place many proposed changes that can have a great impact on the health of the country.

Following are updates on what we know so far.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Opposes Harmful Health Care Legislation Approved by House of Representatives
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics joins the vast majority of organizations representing health care providers, patients, hospitals and the elderly by opposing the harmful health care legislation passed on May 4 by the House of Representatives. As the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy recommends that the Senate oppose H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, and work with the Academy to find solutions that improve coverage and quality while reducing costs through innovation and enhanced preventive care. The Academy urges the Senate not to hold future votes without an evaluation of the proposed amendments from the Congressional Budget Office estimating the budgetary impact of the amended legislation and the anticipated effect on coverage for Americans.

The Academy will work with states to advocate for continued access and coverage for preventive services, coverage for preventive care, ambulatory care, behavioral health and numerous other services where registered dietitian nutritionists are improving patient health.
In a letter opposing the bill (the full copy of the letter may be found on the website under news) sent on May 3 to House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the Academy’s president, registered dietitian nutritionist Lucille Beseler, wrote:

"The Academy and our 75,000-plus members believe that all Americans should have both coverage and access to high-quality health care. The Academy urges Congress to support measures that include nutrition services and prevention that reduces the cost of health care and improve patients' lives. The new proposal set forth in the AHCA not only fails to improve the health of all Americans, but it will worsen patient care and public health by removing vital resources that are currently effective in improving health across the country. This legislation continues to eliminate investments in prevention and public health, reverse advancements made in disease prevention and chronic care management, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, would result in the loss of health care coverage for at least 24 million Americans. Allowing states to waive pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits will lead to decreased coverage and utilization of vital nutrition services."

The Academy has previously identified five tenets analyzing any legislation to reform health care:
1. The health of all Americans should improve as a result of our health policy choices. Sufficient resources must be made available to ensure optimal health.
2. Access to quality health care is a right that must be extended to all Americans.
3. Nutrition services, from preconception through end of life, are an essential component of comprehensive health care.
4. Stable, sufficient and reliable funding is necessary for our health care system to provide everyone access to a core package of benefits.       5. Health care must be patient-centered.

President Trump also signed into law H.R. 244 (the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act) allowing the funding of discretionary programs of the Federal government through September 30, 2017. In general, the Academy’s priorities have held up fairly well. Of course the Academy will continue the strong work to protect crucial funding for nutrition programs and services with Congress and in the new Administration’s draft of the 2018 fiscal year budget.
The following are the key takeaway messages from H.R. 244:
Every year, Congress must pass bills that appropriate money for all-discretionary government spending.
One bill is passed for each subcommittee of the 12 subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committes. Members of Congress on the Appropriations Committee are very important after a bill becomes law. They are crucial to making sure there is money to fund the bill. The Academy is most interested in Agriculture and Health and Human Services bills, which fund the majority of nutrition services and programs. When Congress does not or cannot produce separate bills in a timely fashion, it combines the separate appropriations bills into one omnibus-spending bill, which is what happened the week of May 9th. The fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the next calendar year. If the date passes, Congress will pass an extension called a “continuing resolution.” This year the bill was not passed to fund the government for the full year and a continuing resolution was passed to keep the government open and to facilitate ongoing conversations in Congress, which was set to expire on March 5, 2017.

Key takeaways:
• Overall, the Academy's priorities fared well in the 2017 federal omnibus appropriations bill.
• For our public health, diabetes and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) members, the Prevention and Public Health Fund was allocated to fund critical public health and wellness initiatives in states that work to address heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other concerns.
• For our nutrition educators, there was an expected slight increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) funding.
• For our members working with older adults, congregate and home-delivered meals funding was increased.
• For our school meal directors, funding was included to purchase food service equipment, but a little less than last year.
• For our researchers, both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) received increased funding.
• At NIH, every institute and center received a funding increase to "continue investments in research that will save lives, lead to new drug and device development, reduce health care costs, and improve the lives of all Americans."

Winter 2017 Update

Hello members!! Hoping this finds you all well. As I write this, much has happened in our country. We have a new president and many new congress members. Many of you are still processing these changes and how these newly elected folks may view many of the issues we have been trying to get passed over the past year. As much remains uncertain for many political issues, one thing we must all do now more than ever, is to take action and make our voices heard. 

National Clinical Commission Bill Moves to the U. S. Senate 

Recently thanks to the support of the Academy and our partners in the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, the House unanimously passed the National Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R. 1192). The bill now moves to the Senate, where it must pass in order to be signed into law this year. This bill gives registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) a seat at the table to ensure that federal programs provide the most efficient and effective care for people with diabetes and related diseases. It is critical that your senators hear from you about the importance of passing this bill. 

On Wednesday, November 16, many dietitian and nutrition professionals joined the diabetes community in a social media day of action. On that day, taking a queue from president, we tweeted!

Social Media Day of Action for Diabetes Advocacy
Advocates showed support for the National Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R. 1192) and urged the Senate to pass the bill before the end of the year. Academy members can also take action to ask your U.S. senators to support passage of H.R. 1192. Even though November 16 has passed, we still need to get our voices heard. I encourage you to reach out and tweet your senators today. Twitter handles for senators and
several sample tweets follow.

Sample Tweets:
• November was National Diabetes Awareness
Month. [Your Twitter Handle] supports #HR1192
for better #diabetes care.
• Act now! #HR1192 will help millions with #diabetes
receive better care with no new costs to the federal
budget. Pass #HR1192!
• [Your Twitter Handle] supports better #diabetes
care. Pass #HR1192! #ClinicalCareCommission
• Pass #HR1192 for better diabetes care and
prevention of disease complications. #Clinical
• We need better #diabetes care for National
Diabetes Awareness Month. Pass #HR1192
• The Senate must act! #HR1192 passed the House
and now we need your support [Insert Senate
member Twitter Handle]
• We need your support to pass #HR1192 in the
Senate [Insert Senate member Twitter handle]

• Support passage of the National Clinical Care
Commission Act which would give RDNs a seat at
the table to ensure that federal programs provide
the most efficient and effective care for individuals
with diabetes and related diseases.
• Support passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity
Act which would effectively treat and reduce
obesity in older Americans by increasing Medicare
beneficiaries' access to qualified practitioners, such as RDNs


Fall 2016 Updates - NEW Action Alert Open! Help Fight Malnutrition!

Registered dietitian nutritionists play a critical role in addressing malnutrition, let’s be sure our policy makers hear our united voice! Please send your members of Congress email letters today telling them to support the Academy’s proposed malnutrition electronic clinical quality measures. These measures would hold health care facilities accountable for screening patients for malnutrition, documenting the diagnosis of malnutrition, ensuring a nutrition assessment is completed, and finally, developing a nutrition care plan.

Now is the time for Medicare recipients to have the quality care and nutrition interventions that can improve health and reduce hospital readmissions – don’t you agree?

Click here to take action. It takes only a few minutes! It is urgent that your U.S. Senators and Representative hear from you. Please take action today.

Your RDN friend, 
Lisa Ronco, MS RD CDE CDN, Public Policy Chair
Medical Nutrition Practice Group

Summer 2016 Updates from Lisa Ronco MS, RD, CDN, CDE, MNPG Public Policy Representative:

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act First, as you know, the Senate passed the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act in January. However, advocacy is still needed to ensure a strong and final child nutrition bill that protects and strengthens the programs as the Senate moves forward with its bill and the House considers which provisions to include in its bill. Here are a few details about the bill:

The Child Nutrition and Women Infants Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act authorizes all federal child nutrition programs, including the School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Child and Adult Care Food, Summer Food Service, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable programs, and WIC. With their funding, these programs ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods where they live, play, and learn. Congress reviews these programs through the reauthorization process. The child nutrition programs touch the lives of millions of low-income children each day, and reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen these programs. Research demonstrates the ability of the child nutrition programs to improve a child’s educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health. Our senators need to know that we, as their constituents, strongly support the bipartisan Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which incorporates many of the Academy’s recommendations to support healthy meals and promote nutrition education for our children.

The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program: We must also reach out to our Congress members to ensure that they support the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which certified the expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program, a model funded by the Affordable Care Act, which reduce net Medicare spending. The expansion was also determined to improve the quality of patient care without limiting coverage or benefits. This is the first time a preventive service model from the CMS Innovation Center has become eligible for expansion into the Medicare program. CMS will be looking at the best strategies for incorporating the Diabetes Prevention Program into Medicare, and the Academy is prepared to offer some best practices for registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN)–led nutrition interventions.

As the nutrition experts, we know that prevention saves money, greatly improves health and produces better outcomes. Statistics show that about 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, resulting in two deaths every 5 minutes in this country. In addition, one in three adults has prediabetes—putting them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

This new development builds on the Academy’s efforts to increase opportunities for persons with prediabetes to see an RDN. Last fall, the United States Preventive Services Task Force issued its final recommendations for diabetes screening and treatment. These recommendations align with the Academy’s guidelines to expand screening and referral to intensive behavioral counseling interventions for asymptomatic patients at risk for diabetes. The Academy continues to work with the Health and Human Services Department and CMS to ensure that these new diabetes screening guidelines include opportunities for our members to help treat and manage diabetes and prediabetes.

We do not know details of the proposed new coverage at present, but the Academy will be integral in formulating the regulatory language CMS will include in its 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule, which is scheduled to be released in the summer. The Academy will work with CMS to include powerful language recognizing the value RDNs and nutrition and dietetics technician, registered, bring to such programs. We will continue to engage our diabetes experts to provide input and guidance from the Academy, using formal comments to ensure that final details of coverage are favorable to Academy members and the Medicare beneficiaries we serve.

I strongly encourage you to share your outcomes and impactful stories with the Academy and all of your practice groups; these stories are needed to be successful in driving better policy. It remains critically important to promote our value to physicians and other providers about the cost-effectiveness and clinical value of medical nutrition therapy and the need for improved Medicare coverage. Our efforts will help increase referrals and provide the solution for physicians searching for the best treatment for their patients with prediabetes and diabetes.






Dietitians in Gluten and Gastrointestinal Disorders

The Dietitians in Gluten and Gastrointestinal Disorders (DIGID) sub-unit for dietitians specializing in a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, from celiac disease and non-celiac wheat sensitivity, to Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Click here to join the DIGID email mailing list.

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

The Dietitians in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (DPM&R) sub-unit for members who are interested in the support, counseling, and education for physically impaired clientele. Click here to join the DPM&R email mailing list.

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Infectious Diseases Nutrition

The Infectious Diseases Nutrition (IDN) sub-unit which networks and shares information, collaborates, and advocates in order to positively impact people affected with infectious diseases. Click here to join the IDN email mailing list.

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Cystic Fibrosis

The Cystic Fibrosis Nutrition (CFN) for members who work with or are interested in patients living with cystic fibrosis. Click here to join the CFN email mailing list.

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