Diet therapy is critical for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). While the primary care provider can and should initiate a discussion about dietary changes with CKD patients, it is vital to engage and refer to a registered dietitian (RD) knowledgeable in CKD diet and nutrition to assess and conduct individualized medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for patients with CKD. MNT can delay CKD progression, prevent or treat complications such as malnutrition, and improve quality of life. Additionally, MNT can lower healthcare costs. To find an RD near you, search the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics directory.
When ordered by a physician, MNT services are covered by Medicare for people with kidney disease or diabetes. MNT services include nutritional assessment, counseling, and therapy. Eligible patients can receive three hours of MNT in the first year and two hours per year in subsequent years.
Prior to referring to a dietitian, the provider should:
- obtain preliminary evaluation (e.g., ultrasound, screening serologies)
- provide the consultant dietitian with patient history including serial measures of renal function and urine albumin
- inform the patient that he/she is being referred to a dietitian and the reason for referral
Use the NKDEP CKD Diet Counseling (MNT) Referral Form to share important patient data with the consulting dietitian.