Public Act 333 of 2006 was officially recognized by the Secretary of State's office on August 15, 2006. This amends the Public Health Code to provide for the licensure of dietitians and nutritionists.
The law goes beyond title protection for dieticians and nutritionists by prohibiting any health professional from incorporating dietetics and nutrition care services defined as "the integration and application of the scientific principles of food, nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, management, and behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain the health of individuals," unless it is already within their stated scope of practice.
The bill was set to take effect on July 1, 2007, however the Michigan Board of Dietetics and Nutrition only completed rules for licensure in November 2010. These rules must be presented to the public at a hearing, the date for which has not yet been set; it is likely to be in late spring or early summer.
Although the law states that the board "shall not promulgate rules under this section that diminish competition or exceed the minimum level of regulation necessary to protect the public," the MNA believes that the board has promulgated rules that violate these provisions.
Diminishment of Competition
Registered Dieticians are automatically eligible for licensure under the law. However, there are a number of other types of professionals who incorporate dietetics and nutrition care services into their practices that may be prohibited from continuing to offer these types of services without significant expenditures of time and money, should the proposed rules go into effect.
These practitioners, such as naturopaths, osteopaths, nurses, pharmacists, certified nutrition specialists, certified clinical nutritionists, certified nutritional consultants, certified nutritionists, and others, would be unable to offer dietetics and nutrition care services to the public despite having completed post-secondary coursework, supervised training, and certification exams.
The MNA believes that the rules currently in place would create a de facto monopoly for registered dieticians in the State of Michigan, which would result in diminishment of competition and violation of the law. The end result would be a considerable loss of jobs and unnecessary restriction in Michiganders' freedom to choose health care providers. It would also significantly disrupt and reduce the pool of practitioners available to offer services to the public at a time when the awareness of importance of nutrition to health is increasing the demand for these services.
The MNA has developed a series of impact statements for various professionals that may be affected by the Dietetics and Nutrition licensing statute. We also invite you to go through the MNA Guide to Nutrition Licensing Impact on You, which will help you know how you will be affected, and help us identify the needs and concerns of practitioners and the public.