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The Nutrition Screening Initiative (NSI) in Washington, DC, recently responded to proposed changes to the Washington-based National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Health Plan Employer Data Set (HEDIS). In its written response, NSI applauded NCQA’s addition of specific measures for diabetes and high blood pressure but criticized HEDIS 2000 for its lack of specific nutrition parameters. NSI wrote:
"It is clear that NCQA is concerned about controlling these and other chronic conditions. However, by omitting specific nutrition parameters from HEDIS, NCQA has missed an opportunity to give health plans the incentive to use the most cost effective and least invasive therapies available. Furthermore, this omission could unwittingly increase pharmacological interventions, driving up health care costs and denying patients the opportunity to manage chronic conditions with the highest quality therapies.
"Nutrition interventions — particularly in the areas of diabetes and blood pressure — have been held to scientific rigor; they are researched, peer reviewed and published. The data on the efficacy of disease-specific nutrition care and geriatric nutrition screening and interventions are extensive."