HARRISBURG – In an effort to expand title protection for licensed dietitian nutritionists, Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) is introducing legislation that will also assure consumers that those presenting themselves as qualified dietary professionals underwent appropriate education and training.
Mehaffie introduced legislation in the 2019-20 Legislative Session to update the Professional Nursing Law to address advancements in nutrition care. He is seeking co-sponsors to reintroduce the bill in the current session.
Licensed dietitian nutritionists evaluate the nutritional health needs of their patients, then counsel and provide services that help treat those patients’ diet-related diseases.
The Professional Nursing Law was last updated in 2002.
“We need to recognize that licensed dietitian nutritionists today are using scientifically proven methods to meet modern needs. This law needs to reflect the work they are doing and protect consumers by letting them know the person has been properly trained,” Mehaffie said.
When Mehaffie introduces the bill, it would seek expansion of title protection so that not just anyone could call himself or herself a nutritionist. It would create an exemption for licensed health care practitioners with nutrition as part of their statutory scope of practice. Those not eligible for licensure would be able to continue to give general, non-medical nutrition advice.
The legislation also would make it easier for qualified military members and their spouses to transfer their licenses to Pennsylvania.
Representative Tom Mehaffie
106th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch