Coding, coverage, and reimbursement for nutrition services are vital to the dietetics profession, particularly to registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) who provide clinical care. The objective of this study was to assess RDN understanding and use of the medical nutrition therapy (MNT) procedure codes in the delivery of nutrition services. Its design was an Internet survey of all RDNs listed in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy)/Commission on Dietetics Registration database as of September 2013 who resided in the United States and were not retired. Prior coding and coverage surveys provided a basis for survey development. Parameters assessed included knowledge and use of existing MNT and/or alternative procedure codes, barriers to code use, payer reimbursement patterns, complexity of the patient population served, time spent in the delivery of initial and subsequent care, and practice demographics and management. Results show that a majority of respondents were employed by another and provided outpatient MNT services on a part-time basis. MNT codes were used for the provision of individual services, with minimal use of the MNT codes for group services and subsequent care. The typical patient carries two or more diagnoses. The majority of RDNs uses internal billing departments and support staff in their practices. The payer mix is predominantly Medicare and private/commercial insurance. Managers and manager/providers were more likely than providers to carry malpractice insurance. Results point to the need for further education regarding the full spectrum of Current Procedural Terminology codes available for RDN use and the business side of ambulatory MNT practice, including the need to carry malpractice insurance. This survey is part of continuing Academy efforts to understand the complex web of relationships among clinical practice, coverage, MNT code use, and reimbursement so as to further support nutrition services codes revision and/or expansion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics