Please come show your support and show legislators that this repeal is important to Michiganders and our state. It's inconvenient, you might have to juggle your schedule, but imagine if this law isn't repealed and you couldn't practice or see your favorite practitioner! The hearing will last until 10:30 a.m.
Want to carpool? Try linking up with others on others on our FB page. Get info on attending the hearing
Hearing on HB 4688 to Continue Tuesday 10/29 9 a.m.
We are very pleased to let you know that yesterday afternoon (11/13) the MI House voted to pass the Repeal of the Dietetics & Nutrition Licensure law by 71-39, a 2/3 majority! All Republicans, and approximately 1/3 of Democrats (29%) supported HB 4688. Please take a moment and send a thank you to Representative Ed McBroom who sponsored this bill and worked above and beyond to understand the issues, speak to his colleagues about the issues, and bring all parties to the table. Also Representative Jeff Irwin worked hard to encourage his Democratic colleagues to understand the issues and support the repeal, and deserves a thank you as well.
Representative McBroom hosted 4 meetings with representatives of the MI Dietetic Association, MI Nutrition Association, and the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists in October and November to try to find a compromise bill as an alternative to repeal. However the dietitians maintained that their training and credential are superior to any other and we were unable to find a compromise that recognized other credentials and protected jobs.
MI needs many more nutrition care providers with a variety of backgrounds. During the House committee hearing legislators learned that there are many excellent training opportunities and credentials outside of the dietetics model and RD credential. These other nutrition providers deserve the right to practice, and the consumer deserves the right to choose a practitioner that matches their needs. For these reasons, the Regulatory Reform Committee and then the full House voted in favor of repeal.
We will continue to advocate for the Senate bill for repeal, SB 579 (identical to HB 4688). We do not believe a compromise regulation that serves Michiganders can be reached with the existing law in place.
The MI Legislature will take a two week break returning at the beginning of December. We know December is a busy month for all but please allow some time to contact your Senators in response to our action alerts. We hope that the Senate completes the process in 2013, but there is a good possibility it could run into early 2014. We will keep you updated regarding dates of hearings, voting, etc.
Every phone call, email, letter, or visit to your legislators makes a HUGE difference. We had dietitians, nutritionists, pharmacists, nurses, researchers, doctors (MD, DO, DDS, ND), health coaches, the business community, and consumers/clients reaching out to communicate with legislators. THEY HEARD YOU! THANK YOU.
10/29 This morning the repeal bill passed out of committee with 9 very appreciated yeses, 1 no and 5 abstentions. Abed voted no, Schor, Stanley, Dianda, Haugh, and Rendon abstained. The bill will now go to the House floor and we will let you know as soon as we know when.
Please begin contacting your own Representative encouraging their yes vote on HB 4688. Please subscribe to the MNA newsletter to keep up to date with progress and action steps as this bill moves thru the floor and the Senate Reg Reform Committee and the Senate floor.
Thank you to all of you who have shown up the last several weeks to testify and show support and to those of you who have emailed, and spread the word. It's not over but we're one step closer.
Though it's very unusual to have three weeks of testimony on a bill, legislators are really trying to wrap their heads around the issue. What's the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist? Is there a possible compromise between a complete repeal and the existing law? Is there harm to the public by lack of licensure?
While dietitians all belong to one professional association with one private credential, the range of nutrition providers is broad. There are several nutrition credentials and certifications. There are clinical nutritionists, health coaches, and several other professions which either include extensive nutrition training (e.g. Naturopathic Physicians) or whose members seek nutrition training such as nurses, mental health professionals, or pharmacists. Unlike many professions, nutrition is more a set of tools that can be used by many professionals in many settings to advance health.
Up to now, the Michigan Dietetic Association has been unwilling to consider any meaningful change to the existing law although we have had a few meetings attempting to find some compromise. From our perspective any compromise must not put people out of work and it must include licensure pathways that are not limited to the dietetics pathway. A law that would do this is called Title Protection. This is a type of regulation that sets standards in order to be licensed but allows people who are not licensed to practice as long as they don't use the protected title (licensed dietitian,licensed nutritionist or licensed dietitian nutritionist are most likely titles).
The dietitians have testified that the public is being harmed by people who take a weekend course and then hang out a shingle and call themselves a nutritionist. Really? There is no proof that this is indeed a serious problem in Michigan. The evidence being presented is "anecdotes of potential harm" which are forms dietitians fill out mostly about individuals they have seen who they feel have been harmed by supplements. Sometimes the complaint is that the individual elected to use natural healing methods over medication, sometimes it's a person having received advice contrary to what the dietitian knows or believes.
Supplements can be used improperly and can cause harm; no one disputes that. But even the existing law will not regulate that--people can and will continue to buy supplements and continue to seek out opinions and advice that differ from those of most registered dietitians. And lets not forget that prescription medication and over the counter NSAIDS cause tens of thousands of hospitalizations, complications, and deaths every year.
At issue here is whether we are going to have a single dietary philosophy, a single approach to nutritional healing forced upon citizens of Michigan. Are we going to have a dietary dictatorship? This is why this repeal is so important. Our health depends on it. For information on emailing legislators or attending hearings go here.
If the dietetic/nutrition licensing law were to go into effect tomorrow what would you lose? How would you be affected? Would it shut down your business and cost you your livelihood? Would you no longer be able to see the practitioner(s) you choose? Would it change current or future career plans?
One thing we know for sure, in addition to all of the above, nutrition care in Michigan would be limited to the philosophies and practices promoted by a single, private association. This organization promotes advice that may be very different from what you believe and what you know (and science knows) to be true. For example, the concept and practice of individual biochemical uniqueness is not one dietetics program teach. Nor does the standard curriculum have significant content on use of herbs and dietary supplements. Coca Cola is an approved source of continuing education credits for RDs. Hersey's paid dietitians to present its products at house parties. We have nothing against RDs; we object only to the idea of dietetics leadership forcing everyone to submit to their single philosophy of what good nutrition and good nutrition training should be. Too much has changed in nutrition in the last 30 years to allow only one private association to dictate an entire profession.
What would it mean if only RDs could be licensed in MI? Even if you were philosophically aligned with dietetics, did you know that MI only has 27.5 RDs per 100,000 population?
Right now bills are in both the House (HB 4688) and Senate Regulatory Reform Committees (SB 579). We need your support to get these bills through committee and then passed by both the House and the Senate. That won't happen without you.
Three Important Actions to take:
2. Let your state Representative and Senator know this bill is in their Regulatory Reform Committee and alert him/her to this issues. Ask for their "yes" vote on HB 4688 (for Representative) or SB 579 (for Senator) to Repeal the Dietetics Nutrition Licensing law and explain why this repeal matters to you. A personalized letter is always most effective even if you borrow from our Talking Points (see link to left)
3. Contribute to financially to this effort if having your business protected is valuable to you, or you care about keeping the right to see the provider of your choice. Click the Donate button to the left. Having effective lobbyists costs money--please help share the cost of that in whatever amount you can.
MNA has been asked by the repeal bill sponsor to see if any compromise is possible on a law that would not create job loss. We are currently at the table with the Michigan Dietetic Association exploring that option. However the bill sponsor has said if nothing is agreed upon very soon, the repeal bill will begin its move. There is very likely to be a hearing on a Tuesday in mid to late October.
Please find resources at www.nutritionadvocacy.org/michigan for hearing information as it becomes available
Also there are three ways you can help right now:
1. Send an email in support of repeal to your own Representative http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/ You can find a sample letter or talking points at www.nutritionadvocacy.org/michigan by scrolling down to where you see downloadable documents. The link to find your legislator is also there.
2. If you have thank you letters from clients you have helped, and have permission to share those, please email to email@example.com. Permission is important as these will become public record.
3. DONATE money to MNA. We appreciate the past contributions of MNA supporters toward the costs
of a lobbyist for the last several years. We have recently added a second lobbyist to do everything we can to be
successful in our efforts. Seeing this through the entire legislative process at best will take several more months
and is not financially sustainable without your help now. Whether you've given in the past or never donated
please consider how this law will affect you if it is not repealed and consider making a one time or monthly
recurring donation by clicking on the Donate link in the left menu bar. Donations are through PayPal. Thank
UPDATE 5/22/13 The May 28 hearing has been cancelled but this is not due to a problem with the repeal bill. Because it is getting towards the end of the legislative session the House will be holding an extra long session on the day the Regulatory Reform Committee meets so the entire committee meeting is cancelled. Please check back. Or like the Center for Nutrition Advocacy FB page to get regular updates. We are hoping the hearing will still be scheduled in June. PLEASE CONTINUE TO CALL AND EMAIL MEMBERS OF THE REGULATORY REFORM COMMITTEE AS WELL AS YOUR OWN LEGISLATOR.
Frustrating as it is, this is how politics work. Please consider coming to show legislators how broad based the support for this repeal is. The National leadership of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics has come to MI to put pressure on state legislators, and would like them to believe that Repeal is the minority position and they are the majority. We know how untrue this is, but legislators won't unless you voice your support for repeal. Write or call members of the Regulatory Reform committee, and your own state representative. All the needed info is downloadable from earlier posts or by going to nutritionadvocacy.org/michigan
The hearing for May 14 by the House Regulatory Reform Committee for HB 4688 has been rescheduled to May 21st 9 a.m.
Please continue sending emails and calling the offices of all committee members this week expressing support for the Repeal. If you can take the time to go to the hearing, people showing up in person has a big impact. The Dietetic Association will have alot of RD's in attendance and they only represent 2000 RD's in the state. So let's make sure we have a BIG turnout representing consumers, practitioners, other heath professionals, the sustainable/healthy food community, the retail community, etc.
Some information for taking action is downloadable below. More info can be found at nutritionadvocacy.org/michigan
Rep Ed. McBroom, Vice Chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee has introduced HB 4688, a bill that would repeal the Dietetics/Nutrition Licensing law that was passed in 2006. though not yet implemented. The Office of Regulatory Reinvention after thorough study and review, recommended this action, citing lack of significant harm form no regulation, and the negative impact on job creation of similar occupational regulation.
This bill will be heard by the committee on Tuesday May 14th at 9 a.m. in Room 521 of the House Office Building in Lansing.We encourage anyone concerned with their right to practice to go to the hearing to show your support for the repeal. It is also imperative that all legislators, not just those on the committee, receives calls and emails. Most do not understand the difference between Dietitians and those Nutritionists who train outside of dietetics. Here are some points you can use to help educate them if this question comes up.
1. Nutritionists are trained in life sciences and nutritional therapy for prevention, disease reversal and management. They are trained in multiple, evidence-based dietary philosophies (rather than focusing on the food pyramid or my plate or USDA recommendations). Nutritionists focus on helping individuals understand the impact of food choices on health and help clients plan and implement healthier diets to improve health At more advanced levels (master4s and PhD) they are trained to conduct Medical Nutrition Therapy, assess lab work to assist in understanding nutrient needs and planning dietary and supplement protocols to address these.
2. Nutritionists work primarily in outpatient settings (clinics) or private practice; Dietitians primarily (92%) in inpatient and institutional settings. Most dietitians see people once they already have one or more diseases or are in a hospital or nursing home.
3. Dietitians curriculums focus on about 50% clinical nutriton with the rest divided between bulk food service management, policy, and research.
4. "Registered Dietitian" is a private credential awarded by one private, trade association; dietitians are one subset of nutrition professional, not the entire field.
Please call and email members of the Regulatory Reform Committee before May 14th. Contact information may be downloaded below.