On November 29, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services announced its decision to cover intensive behavioral therapy for obese Medicare beneficiaries as an “additional preventive service” defined under the Social Security Act. Previously, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services had covered only bariatric surgery for obesity. For years, prevention advocates have also complained that federal health insurance covers screening for risk factors, but not the preventive services that would reduce disease risk or reverse disease development. The current National Coverage Determination is a step forward in providing preventive coverage of obesity interventions, but specific limitations still exist and are described.
Who should provide advice and whom should be paid for obesity counseling?
Mary H. Hager, PhD, RD, previously worked as the Director of Regulatory Affairs at the American Dietetic Association and served as interim vice president for their government affairs office in Washington, DC. She also was a professor of Foods and Nutrition at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey, where she was also founding associate dean of the college’s graduate programs. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.
She earned her bachelor’s degree (with distinction) at the University of Delaware, completed a dietetic internship at the University of Michigan Hospital, and her MS and PhD degrees in nutrition with concentrations in endocrinology and physiological chemistry at the University of California, Davis.
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Mary H. Hager, PhD, RD, 88 East Main St, Ste 134, Mendham, NJ 07945 (firstname.lastname@example.org).