In November 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare would reimburse Primary Care Providers for Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Obesity, but not Registered Dietitians. Why would practitioners who are not trained in weight loss counseling be able to set up IBT programs when the knowledgeable and experienced practitioners, RDs, could not?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other organizations tried to get CMS to reverse their decision, to no avail. Since the decision could not be reversed, the best course of action was to teach PCPs how to successfully set up and run an IBT program, and how to incorporate the services of an RD in their IBT programs — a win-win for practitioners and clients!

To enhance the content, Nutrition Dimension partnered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on this project. The Academy toolkit, ’Meeting the Need for Obesity Treatment: A Toolkit for the RD/PCP Partnership’ contains practical billing and business information that has been incorporated into the course.

After a year of hard work, the 12-hour continuing education program, “Obesity Management: A 911 Call to American Healthcare” is available on for RDs and MDs and on for RNs. It’s a complete package that contains background information on obesity, the CMS requirements for an IBT program and the tools to implement the program — data collection forms, readiness-to-change questionnaire, food diaries and education handouts. There are more than 50 pages of resources to help create a successful program.

As you use this course or have an opportunity to review it, please send me any suggestions to make it even better. By working together we can start to make a difference in the obesity epidemic.