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Updating law for dietitian nutritionists will help Pennsylvanians: Tom Mehaffie

Posted 10/2/19

Much has changed since 2002 when the Professional Nursing Law was last revised to include licensed dietitian nutritionists.

Licensed nutritionists and licensed dietitian nutritionists play a …

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Updating law for dietitian nutritionists will help Pennsylvanians: Tom Mehaffie

Posted

Much has changed since 2002 when the Professional Nursing Law was last revised to include licensed dietitian nutritionists.

Licensed nutritionists and licensed dietitian nutritionists play a crucial role in the health care system. They provide science-based nutrition evaluations and counseling for those who need help with diseases, food allergies and overall well-being.

Not only do licensed nutritionists work one-on-one with patients, they also serve hospitals, skilled nursing centers, schools and other institutions.

We need to protect Pennsylvanians from those who falsely claim to be dietitians or nutritionists without the appropriate training and oversight from certification boards. To do so, I have introduced House Bill 1802 to expand title protection and provide practice protection for licensed dietitian nutritionists. It will more clearly outline their range of functions and responsibilities than what is contained now in the Professional Nursing Law.

The title protection would cover titles of nutritionist, dietitian, dietician and dietitian nutritionist.

Additionally, the bill would specify when a license as licensed dietitian nutritionist or licensed nutritionist is required as well as outline the scope of practice for those professionals.

This legislation would provide for exceptions to the licensing requirement, including students working under the supervision of licensed dietitian nutritionists, retailers who do not hold themselves to be dietitian nutritionists and weight control service providers.

I also feel it is important to provide for expedited licensure for qualified members of the military and their spouses.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 68,000 dietitians and nutritionists in 2016, with an estimated growth rate of 15 percent in the field. It is important we make these changes now to be at the forefront of this growth.

State Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, represents the 106th House District. Reach him at 717-534-1323 or tmehaffie@pahousegop.com.