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Victory! Dietitians No Longer Hold a Monopoly in Michigan!

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We and our allies have had a successful year so far fighting monopoly in nutritional advice. Here’s an update, including new federal recognition of nutritionists.
On July 15, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed HB 4688 into law, repealing the state’s monopolistic licensure law for nutrition professionals. The Center for Nutrition Advocacy, an initiative of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS),[1] coordinated the effort on behalf of ANH-USA and other national groups, and worked with the Michigan Nutrition Association.
Michigan passed its Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensure Act in 2006, and we’ve been battling it ever since. As with other dietetics laws, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the AND, formerly the American Dietetic Association or ADA) had created a monopoly for Registered Dietitians, and excluded other nutrition professionals who are often better educated, more experienced, and otherwise as qualified or better qualified than RDs. With your help and a nationwide effort from other activist groups, including hundreds of letters you sent to the Michigan legislature, the current law was overturned, opening the door to other qualified nutritionists.
Other notable successes this year:

  • In New York, ASB 4999, a bill sponsored by the AND which we fought, ultimately died in committee because of all the messages you sent to NY legislators.
  • In last three years, ANH-USA and its allies have managed to block nineteen separate attempts to institute monopolistic dietetic laws across the nation. We also proactively and positively reshaped the anticompetitive law in Illinois, where the AND is headquartered.
  • The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a list of professions where each is defined in detail and statistics about it are kept. Previously, “Dietitians and Nutritionists” were categorized together, and the AND was listed as the sole certifying organization for the entire profession. In a milestone victory on January 8, 2014, nutritionists managed to get “Nutrition” defined as a different profession than “Dietetics,” and importantly, the BCNS is now identified as the certifying organization for nutritionists. This national, federal recognition of the unique credentials of Certified Nutrition Specialists is extraordinarily important.
  • And don’t forget our recent federal victory in which nutritionists won equal recognition with dietitians for the right to prescribe patient diets in hospitals.

[1] The BCNS was previously the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists or CBNS.

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