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Obama Sees Health Care Role for Registered Dietitians

Posted on | February 4, 2008 | 1 Comment

Candidate wants to see RDs help people to lose weight and prevent disease complications

Prevention in health care may stand a chance after all. Senator Obama highlighted the importance of dietitians to help save precious health care dollars in the Democratic debates last week with this quote:

"So I’ve already said a sizable portion of my health care plan will be paid for because we emphasize savings. We invest in prevention. So that, you know, as I said before, the chronically ill, that account for 20 ppercent — or the 20 percent of chronically ill patients that account for 80 percent of the cost — that they’re getting better treatment. We are actually paying for a dietician for people to lose weight, as opposed to paying for the $30,000 foot amputation. That will save us money."

Visit the transcript page.

I am sure dietitians around the globe would join me in saying that this is huge for the entire field of dietetics and health care. You see, dietitians have strong expertise in food and nutrition. They have the knowledge and skills to help people who want to change nutrition-related behaviors to manage diseases — and maybe even prevent disease from even happening in the first place. But the right health care system needs to be in place to enable dietitians to provide their services before conditions get too serious. Reimbursement is a huge problem. Unless you have end-stage renal disease or diabetes you will have a hard time getting insurance companies to help pay. In his quote, Obama was referring to costly amputations that result from diabetes that is not well-managed. Dietitians can provide medical nutrition therapy to help people lose weight over time, bring their diabetes under control, and prevent complications. (I’m sure everyone with diabetes would like to keep their feet if possible.) Dietitians have been under-utilized for far too long. It’s high time dietitians are recognized for their unique contributions and are better positioned to help improve health care.

(Rebecca Scritchfield is an exercise and nutrtion writer, speaker and consultant. She can be reached at [email protected]. Opinions expressed by Health Commentary guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Health Commentary.)


One Response to “Obama Sees Health Care Role for Registered Dietitians”

  1. tim
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    but you are going to be paid less than half of what you get paid now

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