By Shane Spritzer, Regulatory Chair, DDA
This year’s Public Policy Update meeting was held on October 25th at Tri-County Health Department. During the first half of the meeting, members viewed a webinar put together by Jamie Daugherty, President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND), and Bonnie Jortberg, Public Policy Coordinator for CAND’s board of directors.
Jamie discussed the restructuring of CAND’s strategic framework, which will place focus on three goals: improving public trust and choice of RDNs and DTRs as nutritional experts, improving the health of Coloradoan’s through advocacy, and having CAND members and prospective members view the Academy as key to professional success. They are also working on completing a sponsorship policy/procedure as well as a membership survey.
Bonnie then talked about the importance of advocacy, both for our profession and for the wellbeing of our patients and communities. Nationally, there are four main public policy priority areas we are facing: disease prevention and treatment, lifecycle nutrition (including the Older Americans Act), healthy food systems and access, and quality health care. And of course, we will continue to be facing the issues of state licensure as well as RDNs as Medicare providers.
During the second half of the meeting, we had Candace Johnson enthusiastically speak about her experience as a public policy advocate and how we can be involved. She expressed how important it is for all nutrition professionals to realize that public policy affects our jobs, regardless of which area we work in, so it is important for our voices to be heard. She also walked us through the Academy’s Advocacy Action Center, where members can quickly and easily contact their representatives about important issues – it takes all of 60 seconds.
Two of these issues are still ongoing, and could use your voice!
Support National Clinical Commission Legislation in U.S. Senate
The National Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R. 1192) has already been passed in the House of Representatives, and we are trying to get the Senate to agree to a vote prior to the new session of Congress begins. This bill would establish a commission within HHS to better coordinate care for people with prediabetes, diabetes, and chronic conditions that result from complications of diabetes.
Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R. 2404) would amend the Medicare portion of the Social Security Act to cover intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for obesity, and specifically lists RDNs as an appropriate provider, and would also provide coverage for FDA-approved weight loss medications that complement IBT.
To visit the Advocacy Action Center and let your voice be heard, visit:
Shane Spritzer is currently completing his dietetic internship as part of the inaugural class of MSU Denver’s ISPP program, after graduating from MSU in May, 2016. He is also pursuing his MPH through Colorado School of Public Health, with concentrations in applied biostatistics and maternal and child health. After passing the RD exam, he hopes to enter the field as a clinical pediatric dietitian. This is his first year on the DDA board, and with a strong interest in politics he is excited to be the regulatory chair to be a voice for positive changes through nutritional policy. In his limited free time, he likes to cook, read, see shows at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and keep up with a few more TV shows than he probably has time for.