About the Safe Food for Seniors Initiatives
On October 4, 2016, CMS published its final rule “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Reform of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities” in the Federal Register. Of the many changes to the regulations, the most important is the CDM credential being listed first amongst qualifications for the newly designated Director of Food and Nutrition Services. Current ANFP members can view this victory with pride, knowing that Washington, DC, now views the CDM credential as essential to maintaining quality in LTC facilities, and future ANFP members can look forward to a clearly-defined career path with pride.
The Value of the Credential
Certification for dietary managers, similar to registration for dietitians and dietetic technicians, establishes a minimum level of competence that both employers and the public can expect in defined roles. Additionally, because certification requires continuing education, the credential assures that the certified individual stays on top of the latest technology and trends within the industry.
Obtaining certification involves a one-time cost for training and testing expenses which are covered by the individual and/or provider. Furthermore, certification requirements for The Safe Food for Seniors Act do not require additional funding from the federal government and is considered “revenue neutral” to the U.S. Treasury.
Why is this Initiative Important to Us?
Foodborne illness is a serious public health threat to Americans of all ages, but seniors are often most at-risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne illness. Fatalities from foodborne illness among nursing home residents are far greater than for the general population. Consider these facts:
- 1 out of 3 nursing homes and LTC facilities have documented dietary sanitation deficiencies.
- Just 50% of these facilities have a full-time dietary staff member certified in food safety.
- Only 18 states include certification from the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers as a dietary staffing requirement in long-term care.