CMS to cover behavioral therapy for obesity

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed covering intensive behavioral therapy for obese individuals enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2. The therapy would consist of screening for obesity, a dietary assessment and intensive behavioral counseling and therapy to promote weight loss through diet and exercise.

According to the Aug. 31 memo, CMS would cover a face-to-face visit every week for the first month, a face-to-face visit every other week for months two through six, and a face-to-face monthly visit for months seven through 12. In order to qualify, a beneficiary would have to be competent and alert, and meet with a qualified primary care physician or primary care provider, such as a nurse practitioner. While skilled nursing facilities would not be eligible for reimbursement, a less obese older population nonetheless would be good news for providers struggling to keep up with the costs and demands of bariatric patients.

The public can weigh in by clicking on the memo and clicking on the orange “comment” button.

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