ASSEMBLY HEALTH AND SENIOR SERVICES COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 2182

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  JUNE 6, 2013

 

      The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Assembly Bill No. 2182.

      This bill, which is designated the “Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act,” provides for the licensure of dietitians/nutritionists in this State.

      The bill establishes a seven-member State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists (hereinafter referred to as “the board”), in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, to oversee the licensure of individuals practicing dietetics/nutrition, including:  four licensed dietitians/nutritionists; a physician; a public member; and a State executive department member.  The members of the board are to serve without compensation but be reimbursed for expenses and provided with office and meeting facilities.

      The bill requires an applicant for licensure as a dietitian/nutritionist to be at least 18 years old and of good moral character, and to meet the following requirements:

      (1)  provide evidence of current registration as a Registered Dietitian by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, or

      (2)  have received a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a United States regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in a relevant field and have successfully completed minimum course requirements determined by the board; or in the case of an applicant who has obtained an education outside the United States, have an academic degree validated by the board as being the equivalent thereof; and have successfully completed a planned clinical program in an approved practice of dietetics/nutrition of not less than 1,200 hours under the supervision of a licensed, registered, or certified dietitian/nutritionist, or of a registered dietitian, as approved by the board; and have passed an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to practice dietetics/nutrition, to be held by the board at least twice a year and which may be administered by a national testing service, as determined by the board; or

      (3)  have received a master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant field of study from a United States regionally accredited college or university and have successfully completed minimum course requirements determined by the board; or in the case of an applicant who has obtained an education outside the United States, have an academic degree validated by the board as being the equivalent thereof; and have a documented supervised experience in the United States in the practice of dietetics/nutrition of not less than 1,200 hours under the supervision of a licensed, registered, or certified dietitian/nutritionist, as approved by the board, of a registered dietitian or a licensed physician; and have passed the Commission on Dietetic Registration examination referenced above.

      The bill prohibits any person from practicing dietetics/nutrition in this State unless that person holds a valid license, but allows exceptions for:  persons licensed to practice pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes who are engaged in the practice or teaching of dietetics or nutrition within the scope of their license or any other persons licensed to practice or certified to teach in this State under any other law who are engaged in the practice or teaching for which they are licensed, regulated, or certified; certain educational purposes; federal government employees, persons serving in the Armed Forces, and employees of any State institution or facility, who are practicing dietetics/nutrition within the scope of their official duties; certain persons who do not hold themselves out to be dietitians/nutritionists while furnishing general nutritional information; and dietetic technicians providing nutrition services under the supervision of a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.

      For a period of one year after the effective date of the bill, a person who is practicing or residing in the State on the effective date of the bill may qualify as a licensed dietitian/nutritionist if:  that person has a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a United States regionally accredited college or university with a minimum of 30 credit hours or a major concentration of study in a relevant field approved by the board; and has been employed at least half-time as a dietitian/nutritionist for three of the last five years immediately preceding the effective date of the bill.

      The bill provides for the licensure by the board of nutritionists or dietitians who have been licensed, registered, or certified in another state which has standards substantially equivalent to those of this State.

 

COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

      The committee amendments to the bill clarify that nothing in the bill is to be construed to prohibit persons licensed to practice pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes from engaging in the practice or teaching of dietetics or nutrition within the scope of their license.

      The amendments also increase, from 900 to 1,200 hours, the amount of the experiential requirement (either as a planned clinical program in an approved practice of dietetics/nutrition or as documented supervised experience in the United States in the practice of dietetics/nutrition, as applicable) for licensure as a dietitian/nutritionist.

      In addition, the amendments stipulate that an applicant for licensure as a dietitian/nutritionist must pass an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, which is to be held at least twice a year by the board and may be administered by a national testing service, as determined by the board.

      Finally, the amendments delete references to the "American Dietetics Association" (which has been renamed as the "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics" and is a separate organization from the Commission on Dietetic Registration) and make various minor technical revisions to several sections of the bill.