Protect Our Right to Choose

That's right! Please take a moment to protect our rights to choose... Licensing bills in New York, California,  Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, and West Virginia are being pushed through by the ADA (American Dietetic Association) that would create a monopoly on licensing procedures for nutrition services.

Why does this matter to YOU?

These bills are very restrictive, and ensure that only ADA-registered dietitians can practice key nutrition services.

These bills interfere with your consumer choices. Proposed bills would discriminate against many highly qualified nutritionists many with Master’s degrees and PhDs.

If trained nutritionists cannot become licensed, they cannot practice and consumers cannot benefit from their expertise and their diversity of knowledge and education.

The ADA holds specific alliances with sponsors and big business that clearly. The ADA receives about $1 million a year in payments from pharmaceutical companies, and also receives payments from Coca-Cola, Hershey, the National Dairy Council, Mars, PepsiCo, and others. In many ways, the ADA represents only one view point and one type of nutrition "school of thought."

Let's keep diversity within the fields of health and nutrition. Take action now to protect your right to choose.

I've included a summary below (credit to Alliance for Natural Health) of each proposed state bill along with steps for how you can take action.

Please share this with your friends and family members especially if they live in New York, California,  Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, or West Virginia.

Want to take a larger role in protecting your rights? Be a part of the  Alliance for Natural Health lobby meetings with your state legislators. Email ANH for more information.

A BIG thank you to each of you for taking a moment to pass this on, take a stand and protect our rights to choice!

In Health,

All information below is quoted directly from ANH, Alliance for Natural Health.

California

AB 575 would create a new Dietitians Bureau Bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs. Under this bill, nutritionists are forced to take the ADA exam and become licensed as dietitians in order to practice, even if they already have a Master’s degree or a PhD. This is a perfect opportunity for California nutritionists to meet with legislators and educate them on the disastrous effects of the bill if it were to be passed.

The bill is currently in committee; it needs to be voted upon there, and if passed, would then be taken up by the entire Assembly and voted on by January 31—or else it is considered defeated and cannot be brought up for further consideration. Given the budget constraints in California, passage of AB 575 won’t be automatic, and with the sponsor of the bill’s recent shoplifting conviction, there may not be another bill if this one is defeated. It is, however, not a “done deal,” and last year’s bill very nearly passed, so we need to stay vigilant and make sure California legislators know we’re not backing down.

California residents please take action now!

Colorado

HB 1060, introduced on January 1, would ensure that only Dietitians can practice (Colorado currently has no statute for nutrition professionals). This is a scope-of-practice bill that controls the practice of dietetics and medical nutrition therapy—which are defined very broadly to include nutrition assessment, nutrition care process, diagnosis, nutrition monitoring, and evaluation (things that nutritionists do as well). It would also create a Board, which would be controlled by Dietitians, thus ensuring a bias against nutritionists. The bill includes a penalty for practicing without a license: a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months, with each day of violation constituting a separate offense!

Colorado residents please take action now!

Indiana

HB 1187 was introduced on January 8 and has been referred to the Committee on Public Health. This is a scope-of-practice bill that controls the “practice of dietetics” but also covers nutrition therapy (including medical nutrition therapy), nutrition assessments, nutrition care processes, nutrition care services, nutrition counseling, nutrition diagnoses, nutrition intervention, and nutrition monitoring and evaluation. All of the licensure requirements are the same as for ADA dietitian registration; the educational requirements include ADA-type courses not relevant to nutritionists such as taking a course in food management systems.

Indiana residents please take action now!

New Jersey

S 833 was reintroduced on January 10. ADA pushed similar licensure bills in New Jersey during the previous legislative session without success, thanks to your activism! They are, however, persistent—so we must continue fighting them.

This bill creates a licensure procedure for “licensed dietitians/nutritionists.” By lumping the two professions together, it ignores the vast philosophical differences between the two. This is a scope-of-practice bill which includes medical nutrition therapy, nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring, and evaluation of nutrition care plans, nutrition support (including parenteral and enteral nutrition, nutritional counseling and education, and nutrition care standards and systems). Qualifications for licensure are the ADA requirements, which ignores the educational achievements of nutritionists and doesn’t acknowledge the differences between the two professions.

New Jersey residents please take action now!

New York

A 5666 and its identical companion bill in the NY Senate, S 3556, provide for the licensure of dietitians and nutritionists. This proposed bill lumps dieticians and nutritionists together under one title, “Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist” or “LDN” rather than providing separate licensing for each.

Before the legislature adjourned for the summer in 2011, the Senate version of the bill made it as far as the Senate rules committee, making a vote on the senate floor imminent. However, due to a groundswell of opposition from consumers and nutrition professionals in New York, the bill has been referred back to the Committee on Higher Education now that the legislature has reconvened in 2012.

We have also learned that due to the many flaws in the bill (pointed out by our activists and nutrition allies) legislators in New York are considering making revisions to the bill. We’ll remain vigilant to make sure they make the right revisions. We have also received confirmation that at least one cosponsor of the bill, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, has decided to drop his cosponsorship of the bill.

A 5666 remains sitting in the assembly committee on higher education, where we left it in 2011.

The bill would create a joint board, appointing four members of the ADA and three representing nutritional associations. It does not identify the required exam—but it directs the board to do so. We have run into this problem in other states, where the board, filled via statute by ADA reps, refuses any but the ADA exam. Note further that this is a title provision, meaning that they aren’t preventing the practice of nutrition (subject to these requirements), but they are limiting the title by which one may advertise! If they can’t advertise, that severely restricts their practice. So even though it is a titling restriction, in practice it becomes effectively a scope-of-practice restriction.

New York currently recognizes examinations from other groups in addition to the ADA to qualify applicants for licensure—in particular the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS), which is specifically designed for nutritionists. This bill allows the board to determine the qualifying exam, so once the ADA-majority board takes its first vote, the openness to CBNS and other organizations’ exams would be stopped. Moreover, along with passing the exam, an individual would still have to fulfill all the other requirements for licensure outlined in the bill—which are all standard-issue ADA.

Any new legislation must keep nutritionists separate from dieticians (who will immediately take control of the licensing process), and must ensure the same protections.

New York residents please take action now!

 

West Virginia

HB 4045 was introduced on January 12. If it passes, only licensed dietitians can practice dietetics or medical nutrition therapy. “Dietetics” is here defined to include the sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, food, physiology, health management; “medical nutrition therapy” is defined as the nutritional diagnostic assessment and nutrition therapy services for the purpose of disease management. Four of the five board members will be registered or licensed dietitians, and since the exam to qualify for licensure will be board-determined, it will almost certainly be the ADA exam. All other requirements are the same as the ADA’s. Practicing without a license would fetch a fine of between $100 and $1000, or a jail sentence of up to six months.

West Virginia residents please take action now!