South Carolina adds dietitian counselling services to Medicaid for obese beneficiaries

August 14, 2015

Dietitians in South Carolina are signing up to provide nutrition counseling for state Medicaid recipients under a new provision that allows obese patients with a doctor's order to get up to 12 sessions. Counseling can include teaching people better lifestyle habits to prevent chronic disease, metabolism and exercise, cooking tips, and help planning healthy meals on a limited budget. The Department of Health and Human Services added the weight-loss services for the estimated 184,000 Medicaid-covered adults with a BMI of 30 or more, with the goal of reducing obesity rates in the state. Nearly 32% of S.C. adults are obese, up from 25% in 2004 and 12% in 1990. Medicaid director Christian Soura said the program is somewhat experimental and may need to be adjusted later. The program's estimated cost for this fiscal year is $5.6 million.