Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan speak with community leaders at Copper River Nouveau in 2023. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

Earlier this month, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, and Maggie Hassan, D-NH, introduced a bipartisan bill to improve access to eating disorder care for seniors and people with disabilities.  

The Nutrition CARE Act would expand the access to treatment for beneficiaries of Medicare who have eating disorders.  

It would also include the coverage of outpatient medical nutrition therapy through Medicare Part B. This would provide patients with a more specialized and comprehensive approach to treating eating disorders compared to what is currently offered under Medicare. 

Under the bill registered physicians, dieticians, nutrition specialists, and mental health professionals would be able to provide medical nutrition therapy services to beneficiaries of Medicare. Currently beneficiaries can only access psychiatric, therapeutic, and medical services for help with eating disorders. 

If the bill passes, the expanded services would mean that during their first year of treatment beneficiaries can receive 13 hours of medical nutrition therapy, which would include a one-hour initial assessment and 12 hours of reassessment and intervention. Following that first year, beneficiaries could then have access to four hours of medical nutrition therapy services during each subsequent year. 

“Eating disorders are dangerous illnesses that harm the health of millions of Americans, regardless of their age or background,” said Murkowski. “The bipartisan Nutrition CARE Act would help ensure that seniors and people living with disabilities who struggle with eating disorders have increased access to medical nutrition therapy — an effort that would make a difference in Alaska, where we face a shortage of treatment options.” 


“Together, we can support people who struggle with eating disorders, destigmatize the illness among older people, and improve the health of seniors and people living with disabilities,” she added.