Press Releases

Repeal of Exclusionary Michigan Licensing Law a Victory for Consumer Health, Says Nutrition Professional Group

 

Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists

Center for Nutrition Advocacy

July 17, 2014

See the Press Release

 

LaGrange, IL (July 17, 2014) -- Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation (HB 4688) repealing Michigan’s nutrition and dietetics licensing law, which had prohibited a broad range of nutrition practitioners from providing nutrition counseling. With his action, Michigan becomes the first state in the nation to roll back a law that made it illegal for essentially all nutrition professionals other than Registered Dietitians®—no matter how highly qualified—to practice individualized nutrition counseling.

 

Medicare, Medicaid Ruling Ensures Level Playing Field Between Nutrition Professionals and Registered Dietitians® in Hospitals

Michigan’s repeal follows a ruling by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) that went into effect July 11 that ensures a level playing field between nutrition professionals and Registered Dietitians in hospitals. It states that: “all patient diets, including therapeutic diets, must be ordered by a practitioner responsible for the care of the patient, or by a qualified dietitian or qualified nutrition professionalas authorized by the medical staff and in accordance with State law.” 

In the ruling, CMS rejected the request that Registered Dietitians be the sole nutrition practitioners eligible to order therapeutic diets, and instead adopted the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists’ (BCNS) formal recommendation that nutrition professionals obtain the same eligibility as Registered Dietitians®.

 

Wins for Consumers and their Health

“Both the Michigan repeal and the CMS federal ruling have vast implications for the nutrition profession,” said BCNS President Sidney Stohs, PhD, CNS, FACN, ATS. “They embrace the right of a variety of highly qualified nutrition professionals—such as Certified Nutrition Specialists®—to practice in hospitals and other settings, and rebuff the assertion that only one group has the expertise and the singular right to provide medical nutrition therapy.”

 

“Most importantly,” said Dr. Stohs, “the federal ruling and the Michigan repeal are a victory for patients. They will give hospitals and the public flexibility in determining which type of nutrition provider best meets their needs.”

 

The repeal of the Michigan law is the latest significant sign that policy makers are recognizing the growing diversity of the nutrition profession and the benefit to consumer health and job growth by broadening, rather than narrowing, access to nutrition services.

 

The Center for Nutrition Advocacy spearheaded the involvement of national groups with Michigan members and worked in conjunction with the Michigan Nutrition Association (MNA), which has coordinated opposition to the law since 2010.

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The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) grants the Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS®) credential. Certified Nutrition Specialists are advanced nutrition professionals who apply clinical nutrition science to human health and disease. The CNS certification is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is featured in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Definition of the Nutritionist Profession. The BCNS’ Center for Nutrition Advocacy is the leading advocate ensuring public access to a range of nutrition professionals. Its mission is to advance nutrition professionals’ pivotal role in healthcare through forward-thinking public and private policy.

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Medicare Ruling Levels Playing Field Among Nutrition Professionals and Registered Dietitians in Hospitals

Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists

Center for Nutrition Advocacy 
June 11, 2014

See the Press Release

 

CHICAGO, IL—A landmark federal ruling that all qualified nutrition professionals—not just Registered Dietitians—may order therapeutic diets in hospitals, has leveled the playing field between nutrition professionals and Registered Dietitians.

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) ruled that: 

 

“all patient diets, including therapeutic diets, must be ordered by a practitioner responsible for the care of the patient, or by a qualified dietitian or qualified nutrition professional  as authorized by the medical staff and in accordance with State law.” [emphasis added]

 

 The ruling adopts the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists’ (BCNS) formal recommendation to CMS that qualified nutrition professionals obtain any privileges granted to Registered Dietitians

 

The ruling goes on to state:

 

“We agree with commenters that the regulatory language for § 482.28 should be inclusive of all qualified nutrition professionals. We do not agree with commenters who requested that we use the term “registered dietitian” or define “qualified dietitian” as an individual specifically registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration. We agree that a more flexible approach would be the best way to ensure that patients benefit from the improved quality of care that these professionals can bring to hospital food and dietetic services.”  [emphasis added]

 

“This ruling has vast implications for the nutrition profession,” said BCNS President Sidney Stohs, PhD, CNS, FACN, ATS. “It embraces the right of a variety of highly qualified nutrition professionals—such as Certified Nutrition Specialists—to practice in hospitals, and rejects the assertion that Registered Dietitians should have an exclusive right to provide medical nutrition therapy.”

 

“Most importantly,” said Dr. Stohs, “this ruling is a victory for patients, giving hospitals flexibility in determining which type of nutrition provider will best serve its patients’ health.”

 

The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) is the foremost credentialing body for advanced nutrition professionals. Its Certified Nutrition Specialist® certifying program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the preeminent standard of excellence for certifying bodies, and is featured in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Definition of the Nutritionist Profession. The BCNS’ Center for Nutrition Advocacy is the leading advocate ensuring public access to a range of nutrition professionals.

 

More detail on the final rule and implications are available at BCNS’ advocacy initiative, the Center for Nutrition Advocacy: Nutritionadvocacy.org/recent-rulings  

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[1] Final Ruling on Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency Transparency, Efficiency and Burden Reduction. May 12, 2014.

[1] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

42 CFR Parts 413, 416, 440, 442, 482, 483, 485, 486, 488, 491, and 493

[CMS-3267-F]

RIN 0938-AR49

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction; Part II  p 45

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