National Public Policy, Legislation & Advocacy

NATIONAL PUBLIC POLICY, LEGISLATION & ADVOCACY

 

General

The Academy and Public Policy

As the state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy), the Massachusetts Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) promotes public policy and advocates for issues in line with those of the Academy. The Academy’s defined legislative and public policy priority areas, which are critical to achieving its mission, vision, goals and strategies, are outlined in its Strategic Plan Roadmap.

 

Read more about the Academy’s legislative and public policy priorities at https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/legislation/all-legislation

 

The Academy’s current legislative priorities include the following:

  1. Breastfeeding in the workplace
  2. Child Nutrition Reauthorization
  3. Farm Bill and federal nutrition programs
  4. Food Safety Modernization Act
  5. Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act
  6. Licensure and professional regulation
  7. Malnutrition recognition, treatment and prevention
  8. Older Americans Act and meals on wheels, congregate dining
  9. Prevention and Public Health Fund
  10. Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

 

Policy Initiatives and Advocacy Team

The Academy's Policy Initiatives and Advocacy (PIA) team, including the Manager of Grassroots and State Advocacy, is located in Washington, DC, where it serves as the Academy’s voice on Capitol Hill. The work of the PIA team complements and supports the work of state affiliates and individual members to promote food and nutrition policies at the national level.

PIA staff members lead the Academy’s consumer protection and licensure efforts and meet with government agencies such as USDA, FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss regulatory issues. They meet with members of Congress to promote nutrition-focused policy, organize the Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit (formerly, Public Policy Workshop) and guide the Academy’s grassroots activities at the state level.

 

Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit

Held annually in Washington, DC, the Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit brings together RDNs and NDTRs from across the country to learn about key policy issues impacting the dietetics profession and our nation’s health. Attendees also sharpen their communication skills and at the end of the conference travel to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress to discuss food and nutrition policy issues. They discuss key pieces of legislation designed to increase access to healthy food, nutrition services and MNT, asking members of Congress to sign on in support of specific bills or voting to pass bills to become law.

The 2019 Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit was held on July 11th and 12th and six MAND members visited the offices of our two U.S. senators and nine U.S. representatives to discuss the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act (DSMT) and Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA).

Learn more about the Academy’s Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit at https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/take-action/nutrition-and-dietetics-advocacy-summit

 

Legislation

U.S. Congress

Each Congress lasts two years, with two one-year sessions. The current 116th Congress began on January 3, 2019 and will end on January 3, 2021. Every new Congress, the Academy works with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to find sponsors and cosponsors of bills in line with the Academy’s stated public policy priorities. Bills which are not passed by Congress to become law during a session of Congress “die in session” and need to be reintroduced in the new Congress. Thus, bills supported by the Academy vary over time, as bills get passed, die in session, or are reintroduced in a new session. Academy staff in Washington, DC, work with nutrition champions on Capitol Hill to get new bills introduced and to get bills from the previous Congress reintroduced.

In the 116th Congress, the Academy’s main legislative priorities include: (1) the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act; and (2) the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act.

 

Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act (S.814/H.R.1840)

The Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2019, introduced by Representative Tom Reed (R-NY-23) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), aims to decrease barriers for Medicare beneficiaries to utilize DSMT services. If passed it would increase access to DSMT services, increase the frequency and duration of services and remove cost sharing for beneficiaries. It would also call for a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of virtual DSMT services and allow for services to be provided in other non-clinical settings.

Click here to read the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act issue brief for Academy members.


Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (S.595/H.R.1530)

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2019, introduced by Representative Ron Kind (D-WI-3) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), aims to effectively treat and reduce obesity in older Americans. It would give CMS the authority to allow additional types of health care providers, such as RDNs, to offer intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for weight loss. It would also authorize Medicare Part D to cover FDA-approved weight loss medications like BELVIQ and Qsymia.

Click here to read the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act issue brief for Academy members.

  

Regulation

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

When Congress passes a bill into law, one or more government agencies are identified to write regulations to explicitly outline the specifics of the law. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the health care agency overseeing the health care of over 100 million Medicare and Medicaid recipients, writes and updates regulations to reflect major health care legislation, such as new preventive services under the Affordable Care Act. Importantly, CMS regulations impact the large percentage of Academy members working in clinical and outpatient settings.

 

Therapeutic Diet Order Writing

The Academy was extremely pleased with CMS’ final rule, issued on May 7, 2014, permitting RDNs in hospitals to be privileged to independently order therapeutic diet and monitor and manage dietary plans for their patients. The Academy is actively involved in the continued rollout of the new rule, providing support to affiliates and members working in clinical dietetics seeking to be privileged to work within this new, enlarged role.

Learn more about the Academy’s work to increase RDNs’ ability to write therapeutic diet orders at http://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/therapeutic-diet-orders-state-status-and-regulation

 

Licensure and Professional Regulation of Dietitians

The Academy works to support affiliates in the 47 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who currently have statutory provisions regulating the dietetics profession or associated titles, such as “licensed dietitian/nutritionist.” It also works with affiliates in the three states without such provisions to continue their efforts to obtain such provisions. Doing so protects the public by ensuring they are able to identify and access qualified professionals with the knowledge, skills and competency to provide safe and ethical nutrition therapy.

For more information on dietetic licensure in Massachusetts, see the Licensure Information section under the Professional Development tab.

Learn more about the Academy’s efforts to protect consumers and work to strengthen regulation of the dietetics profession at https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/licensure/professional-regulation-of-dietitians

 

Advocacy

The Academy and Advocacy

The Academy calls upon its members to support legislation and issues important to our profession and provides background information and the means for doing so. These include “Action Alerts,” “Take Your Congressperson to Work Day” and Quarterly Advocacy Days. Members may edit their Academy correspondence subscriber preferences and receive regular e-newsletters, such as Eat Right Weekly and Nutrition and Dietetics SmartBrief. Those who serve on an affiliate Public Policy Panel (PPP) may also subscribe to Public Policy Weekly News, which provides updates on a wide variety of policy issues.

Set your subscriber preferences at https://www.eatrightpro.org/membership/member-benefits/publications-and-subscriptions

 

Action Alerts

“Action Alerts” are sent out by the Academy throughout the year as bills or resolutions supported by the Academy are introduced or up for a vote in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. Members are urged to take a few minutes to log into their www.eatrightpro.org account to use the Academy-provided tool, the “Academy Action Center,” to send pre-written electronic letters to their members of Congress. With only a few keyboard strokes, members can personalize the letters and include their contact information.

Learn more at https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/take-action/action-center

 

Take Your Congressperson to Work

Each August, Congress recesses and members work from their home district offices. This district work period provides the opportunity for Academy members to meet with their members of Congress to provide further information on key pieces of legislation supported by the Academy. The Academy suggests that during this time members may also wish to organize an opportunity to “take their Congressperson to work,” inviting them to see the important work they do in their role as RDN in the private, public or non-profit sector.

If you would you like to join MAND members from your congressional district to visit your member of Congress, or if you would you like to invite your member of Congress to visit your workplace, please email sconca@live.com.

 

Quarterly Advocacy Days

To provide more frequent opportunities for Academy members to meet with their members of Congress, the PIA office has established Quarterly Advocacy Days. These days are organized so that those able to travel to Capitol Hill on the date established meet at the PIA office in Washington, DC, to learn more about the policies and bills being supported, then travel together to meet with members of Congress. The most recent Quarterly Advocacy Day, held on September 20, 2019, focused on policies for treating obesity as a chronic disease and to support Medical Nutrition Therapy and other means of weight management.

Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting

Save the date! ANCE will take place on Friday, April 3, 2020.

 

Public Policy

Public Policy

Do You Want to Make a Difference for Your Profession and Your Community?  Visit our Public Policy Section.