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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
May 2017
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Senior Spectrum Publications

CMS Taking Action Against Hidden
Epidemic of Older Adult Malnutrition

 

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As malnutrition costs rise for older Americans, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a coalition of senior advocate and patient organizations commend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for proposing adoption of quality measures that will take action against the hidden epidemic of older adult malnutrition.

On April 14, CMS announced it is following recommendations that will help improve the health of millions of adults who face malnutrition. It proposed the adoption of malnutritionfocused quality measures into a future Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.

"If the proposed rule is finalized, it would be the first time CMS has included malnutrition care in a quality program, which gives health care providers incentives to report performance on quality measures," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Lucille Beseler. "With diseaseassociated malnutrition in older adults estimated to cost the U.S. $51.3 billion annually, this rule would make an impact on both patient health and health care costs. This is exactly the right public health policy for millions of older Americans who suffer from – or are at risk of – malnutrition."

CMS has proposed to adopt recommendations of the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (mqii.today), released in March at the annual conference of the American Society on Aging. The National Blueprint to Achieve Quality Malnutrition Care for Older Adults called for strategies across the health care spectrum, focused on four primary goals: improving quality care practices, improving access, generating research and advancing public health.

"The measures included in CMS' new proposed rule are a key component of this National Blueprint. Given that patients who rely on Medicare experience the highest rates of malnutrition, CMS' action is critical to tackling this epidemic," Beseler said.

SOURCE: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics