Victory for RDNs in Long-Term Care

From the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Victory for RDNs in Long-Term Care FacilitiesThe Academy scored a significant achievement when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a proposed regulation that will allow registered dietitian nutritionists in long-term care facilities to prescribe patient diets, in accordance with state law. The Academy will carefully review the proposed regulation and will work closely with the Dietitians in Health Care Communities dietetic practice group and other experts to flesh out details and submit input to CMS.

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 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.

Nadine Pazder, MS, RDN, LD/N, FAND

Delegate, Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Professional Development Resources is a CPE Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001). CPE accreditation does not constitute endorsement by CDR of provider programs or materials. Professional Development Resources is also a provider with the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition (Provider #50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within 1 week of completion).

As the population of the United States ages, a growing number of registered dietitians are specializing in elder care and work full or part-time in skilled nursing facilities. Success in long-term care requires the registered dietitian to be familiar with the treatment issues of elders. Knowledge of common medical issues is needed to thoroughly understand the elder’s condition, especially in the long-term care environment where most residents have multiple medical conditions that impact their functioning.

The Registered Dietitian in Long-Term Care is a 2-hour online CEU course that will provide a framework for providing care in a skilled nursing facility. It is intended to give the clinician an overview of the important aspects of long-term care that effect treatment, including the structure, organization and reimbursement system of skilled nursing facilities. The average resident and common treatment areas will also be discussed. Course #20-90 | 2014 | 27 pages | 14 posttest questions