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An estimated 500,000 people in the United States require enteral nutrition. However, in 2023 a study revealed that a quarter of Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers may stop providing enteral nutrition because of the costs associated. The American Association for Homecare and the Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA) released a white paper discussing the challenges facing enteral nutrition access along with some recommendations.

Certain components of a patient’s enteral nutrition therapy are categorized into a “feeding kit”. This kit will fall into one of three billing codes, syringe fed, pump fed, or gravity fed. The items in each kit can differ between patients, and they can also change over time as the patient’s enteral nutrition needs change. The kits can include, but are not limited to, dressings, tape, syringes, and various connectors and adapters. Some components such as extension sets, valve bags, or de-clogging devices are often ineligible for billing unless specifically authorized. HME providers can spend a considerable amount of time gathering required documentation to submit claims for enteral patients and any required enteral nutrition supplies. 89% of HME providers have reported increased labor and costs with providing enteral nutrition.

Patients who do not have adequate access to enteral feeding and the necessary supplies are at risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition is linked to an increase in hospital readmission rate and longer hospital stays. An estimated $147 billion per year is spent on malnutrition in the United States.

Please use the link below to view this white paper and the proposed solutions for better access to enteral nutrition:

*Enteral White Paper FINAL 12 09 23 (aahomecare.org)

Vanessa Sumner RN, MSN

Clinical Training Specialist

Vanessa Sumner graduated from Ameritech College of Nursing in 2014 and started her career in nursing at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah specializing in Cardiovascular Nursing. She graduated in 2018 from Western Governors University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and again from the same University in 2019 with her Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Leadership. During that time, she continued her career working with the Heart Failure and Transplant Team at Intermountain Medical Center and with the Intermountain Medical Hospitalist Group. In 2020 she worked for Ameritech College of Nursing as a Clinical Instructor where she grew to love educating future nurses. She joined Moog in 2020 as our Clinical Training Specialist. She continues that love of educating by keep our internal employees up to date on the clinical aspects of infusion and enteral nutrition.