We are thrilled to announce that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a proposed regulation that will allow registered dietitian nutritionists in long term care facilities to prescribe patient diets, in accordance with state law. When we first achieved success in allowing hospital RDNs to order therapeutic diets, we assured members we were continuing to work diligently to enable long term care RDNs to order them as well. Members will have significant new opportunities to work autonomously, and the rule recognizes both the variation in oversight in facilities and the fact that RDNs are “are well qualified to assess a resident’s nutritional status and design and implement a nutritional treatment plan in consultation with the resident’s interdisciplinary team.”
This development fulfills a priority of the Board to work “with CMS to assure consistent application and uniformity in interpretation of the regulation concerning nutrition supplements and therapeutic diet orders” by enabling RDNs to independently order therapeutic diets in multiple care settings.
The proposed long term care regulations also include revisions consistent with those made in the Academy’s formal 2012 recommendations to CMS and in multiple meetings held with CMS, staff, and our member leaders. We will be carefully reviewing the proposed rule to fully understand all of the exciting opportunities and implications for RDNs in LTC facilities and will be working closely with the Dietitians in Health Care Communities DPG and other experts to submit comments within the next sixty days.
Recognition goes to Pepin Tuma, Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Sharon McCauley, Director, Quality Management for their continued efforts to advance the Academy’s goals in this area.