Q. Is it possible for someone in private practice to offer the MDPP as a solo practitioner?
A. Solo practitioners would need to start a National DPP and obtain full CDC Recognition to apply to enroll as a Medicare Supplier for the MDPP. Individuals in private practice can also partner with existing or new programs to provide the lifestyle coaching or serve as a program coordinator as independent contractors. The program would need to obtain the solo practitioner’s NPI for the coach roster. Medicare pays the recognized Medicare Supplier, and the program would pay the practitioner providing services for lifestyle coaching.
Q. If someone is <65 and has prediabetes but is not overweight, is he/she eligible for the program (i.e., the MDPP benefit)?
A. No. Medicare beneficiaries with a body mass index (BMI) of < 25 are not eligible to participate in the Medicare DPP benefit. The Medicare criteria for the Part B benefit is a BMI of ≥ 25 and abnormal blood glucose results. The Medicare DPP is an important new benefit to help Medicare beneficiaries prevent and/or delay diagnoses of diabetes, yet it does not meet the needs of all populations with prediabetes.
A note about individuals with Medicare Advantage plans or other individuals < 65 with private insurance: It is possible that individuals with private insurance, including Medicare Advantage plans, who have prediabetes and BMI < 25, have a benefit for MNT that may cover a diagnosis of prediabetes. Individual plan benefits and coverage policies determine what services are covered benefits and terms/conditions for coverage. We encourage RDNs and organizations to confirm benefits for MNT in persons with prediabetes.
Q. How do you become a Master Trainer?
A. As of the date of the webinar, there are three organizations (Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center at Emory University, American Association of Diabetes Educators, and the Diabetes Prevention Support Center of the University of Pittsburgh) that currently provide Master Training. The minimum required qualifications for application to a Master Trainer Program are:
- Previous completion of Lifestyle Coach Training from a CDC-recognized national provider
- Affiliation with an organization that has pending or full CDC recognition
- Successful delivery and experience with the National Diabetes Prevention Program
Some of the organizations also require the applicant to be a health care professional with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field or if not, substantive experience. There is an application form to be completed, letters of recommendation from a supervisor or a professional who can provide information about your experience and performance in delivery of a lifestyle change program, and often a phone interview. Successful applicants attend a 2-day training, similar to the Lifestyle Coach Training Program, to become qualified to become a Master Trainer. The fees range from $1500-$1650 which includes the training and the membership/agreement fee for post-training technical assistance and licensing of the training materials. Master Trainers can train lifestyle coaches in their own and partner organizations.
Q. Can RDNs in private practice order blood tests for diabetes screening?
A. The Academy recommends that RDNs refer to the Comprehensive Scope of Practice Resource for the RDN which can guide the RDN to the resources and options that can be used to evaluate whether the RDN can safely and effectively provide an expanded practice skill and advance individual practice. Case Study: Initiating Orders for Nutrition-Related Laboratory Tests for RDNs Practicing in Hospital, Ambulatory and Private Practice Settings Academy Store: http://www.eatrightstore.org/product/AE37FD36-0C17-422C-91F6-E3C9DC845986
Quality Management Short Link: http://www.eatrightpro.org/scope. Scroll down to Case Studies on the Scope Webpage.
Q. How long will Medicare pay for maintenance sessions?
A. Beneficiaries will have access to ongoing maintenance sessions after the MDPP core benefit (1st 12 months of the program). At the time of the webinar CMS had not placed any limits on how long CMS will pay for ongoing maintenance sessions. Eligible beneficiaries will have access to ongoing maintenance sessions after the MDPP core benefit if they achieve and maintain the required minimum weight loss of 5%. CMS is defining maintenance of weight loss, which allows a beneficiary to access ongoing maintenance sessions, as achieving the required minimum weight loss from baseline weight at any point during the previous 3 months of the core maintenance or the ongoing maintenance sessions. CMS will propose a limit on the duration of CMS payments for ongoing maintenance sessions in future rulemaking. As a reminder, there are six monthly core maintenance sessions in months 6 through 12 of the year-long program in which beneficiaries are eligible to participate, regardless of weight loss, but CMS has not issued final rules about payment for the core maintenance component or any component of the MDPP benefit.
About the Author: Joyce Green Pastors, MS, RD, CDE, VAND Member and one of the Virginia Diabetes Council Board Members, participated in a webinar on May 24th, 2017 for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about diabetes prevention. We thank them for sharing information from this webinar with us.