Support Changing the Rules for Ordering Diets

Urgent, action requested by March 8th: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has asked members to support changing the rules that prevent RDs from ordering diets independent of physicians. Details about how you can help are listed below.

Dietetics in Health Care Communities

Should RDs be able to order diets on their own?

If you asked anyone at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics they would say, “Of course!” Academy members have frequently expressed concern about an outdated rule that has prevented RDs from ordering diets independently and required other practitioners to sign off on tasks RDs are qualified to do.

For this reason, the Academy sprung into action over two and a half years ago to urge the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow RDs working in hospitals to order patient diets without requiring the supervision or approval of a physician or other practitioner and order lab tests to monitor the effectiveness of dietary plans and orders. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Academy, CMS recently proposed a new rule that says just that.

So where do we go from here? The Academy’s work is not done until this rule is finalized and put into effect. That is where you come in! Members can join in on the action in three ways:

1. Letter of Support: Ask your fellow non-RD practitioners (physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants), hospital executives and health systems administrators to sign a letter of support by March 8, 2013. (We do not need RDs to sign this letter of support.)

2. Provide Specific Examples: To append to the final version of the comments, the Academy is requesting that its members submit specific instances of harm or cost that has resulted from the existing rule, which prohibits RDs from ordering patient diets.

  1. Examples of harm include situations with negative outcomes on patients’ health, such as choking on food, allergic reactions, inappropriate surgery preparation or malnutrition.
  2. Examples of incurred costs could include instances of unnecessary spending due to delayed treatment, wrong orders, or other causes that affect providers and hospitals.

3. Collaborate with Affiliates & DPGs: Please work through your DPGs and affiliates with any thoughts or suggestions for additional elements to include in the comments for the proposed rule.

We are excited about this opportunity to not only save the nation hundreds of millions of dollars annually* but also to ensure RDs are able to improve patients’ health by providing the best nutrition care possible.

If you have any questions about this proposed rule and your potential role, please check out these FAQs.

*Estimated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR: Cindy Heilman has over 25 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

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