Outpatient Services

Individual Medical Nutrition Therapy Consultations
Appointments for individual consultations with a Registered Dietitian* can be scheduled on an outpatient basis. This individualized care is part of medical nutrition therapy (MNT). MNT, provided by a Registered Dietitian, is a service that involves a comprehensive assessment of your child’s overall nutritional status, medical information and nutrition history, followed by intervention to prescribe a personalized course of treatment, outlining specific goals and recommendations on how to achieve them. Educational materials may be provided as needed. Follow up appointments are scheduled to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy and provide on-going support. This service of MNT is recognized by the American Medical Association and is billed to insurance companies/third party payers. At times, coverage of MNT may be based on the efficacy of the treatment.

Registered Dietitians (RD) are specialized practitioners with academic and professional training in nutrition and are credentialed through the national credentialing agency, the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Your Registered Dietitian will work with you and your child to develop a nutrition regimen that meets your child’s specific needs. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by a Registered Dietitian can provide expert and personalized nutrition guidance and counseling to plan lifestyle changes, monitor your child’s progress, and assist you in how to succeed in making changes. After a brief assessment, mutual goals are set and a nutrition plan is reviewed using appropriate education materials as needed. A follow-up appointment is planned at that time.

Who might benefit from Medical Nutrition Therapy?
Registered Dietitians at Children’s of Alabama provide quality care for many pediatric conditions, from infancy to adolescence. Patients that are commonly seen include those with the following conditions:

  • Diabetes: type 1 and type 2
  • Weight management: overweight and obesity
  • Cardiovascular diseases: hypertension, elevated cholesterol/triglyceride levels, congenital heart defects
  • Food allergies
  • Anemia
  • Infant/child feeding difficulties
  • Failure-to-thrive
  • Unintended weight change
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea or vomiting
  • Tube feeding and/or TPN concerns
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Sports nutrition
  • Diet modifications that you don’t understand
  • General preventive nutrition

HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Nutrition therapy consults may be initiated by your private pediatrician or primary care provider via referral. Parents may initiate this process themselves, with the understanding that the child’s primary care provider or pediatrician will be contacted to obtain authorization and medical records containing any information relevant to the consultation. Once the appropriate authorizations and all necessary records have been obtained, then you will be contacted to schedule your consultation with a Registered Dietitian.

Your doctor’s office must fax or mail the following items to our office at 205-638-6047:

Signed referral for Medical Nutrition Therapy for a specific diagnosis (with code)
Reason for the referral
Current medication list
Growth chart(s)
Laboratory values/test results
History & physical/progress notes
Any relevant protocols

SCHEDULING APPOINTMENTS
Please call 205-638-9204 to schedule an appointment.
A completed Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy Referral Form is needed prior to setting up an appointment. Discuss your needs with your physician to see if medical nutrition therapy is right for you. Outpatient referrals will be scheduled on a first come first serve basis with a physician’s referral.

LOCATION of SERVICES
Appointments may be scheduled for Huntsville or Children’s South locations. However, you will also have the option of being seen on the main campus of Children’s of Alabama in downtown Birmingham for your convenience if you have other appointments at our specialty clinics.

Maps and directions are available on the Children’s of Alabama website.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE APPOINTMENT?
You may want to verify insurance coverage for your scheduled consultation. Due to the
ever-changing insurance industry, we are not able to confirm if your insurance provider
will cover the cost of the consultation. Therefore, you may want to contact your insurance provider and inquire as to if they cover medical nutrition therapy as an outpatient service. You will want to use the terminology “medical nutrition therapy” and the specific billing codes for MNT (97802 – initial; 97803 – follow-up; 97804 – group) when communicating with your insurance carrier.
Our services do not have to be prepaid, unless you are a private pay and will not be filing for insurance to cover this consult. Otherwise, we ask that you bring your co-payment at the time of the visit and we will file the claim for you. Please bring your child’s insurance information with you to the appointment.

We also ask that you keep a record or diary of what your child consumes (all food and beverages) for three days prior to the appointment and bring this information with you. Please complete the nutrition history form before your appointment. You may fax this information back to the nutrition department or bring it in with you to the appointment. You may want to bring a list of questions with you so you can be sure to ask them.

Initial sessions last approximately one hour. Follow up sessions usually last between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

DON’T FORGET...
When you come to your appointment, please remember to do the following:

  1. Register at least 20 minutes prior to your appointment time for medical nutrition therapy at the registration desk. You need to bring your insurance information and your co-pay if applicable.
  2. Bring your completed nutrition history form and food diary with you to your appointment. (The completed forms also can be faxed prior to the appointment at 205-638-6047.
  3. If you are scheduled to come to the main campus in downtown Birmingham, and you park in the 7th Avenue Parking Deck, please bring your parking stub inside to be validated by the parking cashier of the hospital.

If you are unable to come to your scheduled appointment, please call the nutrition office within 24 hours to reschedule.

Insurance Coverage for Medical Nutrition Therapy – Information for Parents

  1. Contact your insurance provider to find out what coverage is provided for medical nutrition therapy as part of your health care plan. Some private insurance companies may cover it entirely while others may cover a percentage. The coverage of services varies and changes frequently. Be sure to explain that your doctor has referred you to a registered dietitian.
  2. Ask your physician to speak with the medical director of your healthcare plan to consider covering medical nutrition therapy.
  3. Your registered dietitian and physician can detail the progress you have been making. Some insurance companies ask to see actual results from dietitian visits before they will begin to cover them. They may start authorizing payment if they see progress is being made.
  4. Be persistent. Even if your claims are rejected, continue to have your insurance company billed after every visit. Even if you don’t receive insurance coverage, you will be making the insurance company aware and, with each claim filed, you will have cast a vote for insurance coverage for medical nutrition therapy. The role of the registered dietitian and the effectiveness and importance of medical nutrition therapy are recognized by several healthcare agencies and professional organizations. More and more private insurance carriers are seeing the advantages of medical nutrition therapy.

Outpatient Clinics that have a Nutritionist

  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Allergy
  • Autism
  • Baby Net
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Dental
  • Endocrinology
  • ENT
  • Family Clinic
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Hematology/oncology
  • Immunology
  • Liver Transplant
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pulmonary
  • Primary Care
  • Renal/Renal Transplant/Urology
  • Rheumatology
  • Spina Bifida
  • Surgery
  • Weight Management/Bariatric

Outpatient Referral Form

Intake Record

FAQs