SENATE, No. 1318

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 8, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act providing for the licensing of dietitians/nutritionists, supplementing Title 45 of the Revised Statutes and amending P.L.1971, c.60, P.L.1974, c.46 and P.L.1978, c.73.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act."

 

     2.    (New section)  The Legislature finds and declares that the public interest requires the regulation of the practice of dietetics/nutrition and the establishment of clear licensure standards for nutritionists and dietitians; and that the health and welfare of the residents of the State will be protected by identifying to the public those individuals who are qualified and legally authorized to practice dietetics/nutrition.

 

     3.    (New section)  As used in this act:

     "Board" means the State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists established pursuant to section 4 of this act.

     "Dietetics/nutrition" means the integration and application of scientific principles derived from the study of food, nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, food management, and from behavioral and social sciences in achieving and maintaining health throughout the life span and in providing medical nutrition therapy for the treatment of disease.  It includes, but is not limited to: nutrition assessment; nutrition diagnosis; nutrition intervention; monitoring and evaluation of nutrition care plans; nutrition support, including parenteral and enteral nutrition; nutritional counseling and education; and the development and administration of nutrition care standards and systems.

     "Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     "Licensed dietitian/nutritionist" means a person who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act.  The terms, “dietitian” and “nutritionist,” are used interchangeably in this act.

     “Medical nutritional therapy” means nutritional diagnostic, therapeutic, and counseling services for the purpose of disease management.

 

     4.    (New section)  There is created within the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety the State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists.  The board shall consist of  seven members who are residents of the State, one of whom shall be
a public member and one of whom shall be a State executive department member appointed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1971, c.60 (C.45:1-2.1 et seq.).  Of the remaining five members, four shall be, except for the members first appointed, licensed dietitians/nutritionists under the provisions of this act and shall have been actively engaged in the practice of dietetics/nutrition in the State for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment, as follows: one shall be a dietitian/nutritionist whose primary practice is clinical nutrition; one shall be a dietitian/nutritionist whose primary practice is community or public health nutrition; one shall be a dietitian/nutritionist whose primary practice is management of clinical nutritional services or consulting in nutrition; and one shall be a dietitian/nutritionist teaching in a college or university with an accredited dietetic education program; and the remaining member shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 45 of the Revised Statutes.

     The Governor shall appoint the public member and the State executive department member and shall appoint the remaining five members with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Each member, other than the State executive department member, shall be appointed for a term of three years, except that of the dietitian/nutritionist members first appointed, two shall serve for a term of three years, one shall serve for a term of two years and one shall serve for a term of one year.  Any vacancy in the membership of the board shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner provided by the original appointment.  No member of the board may serve more than two successive terms in addition to any unexpired term to which the member has been appointed.

 

     5.    (New section)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1977, c.285 (C.45:1-2.5) or any other law to the contrary, the members of the board shall serve without compensation, and shall not be entitled to receive any pension or health benefits based upon their service as members of the board, but shall be reimbursed for expenses and provided with office and meeting facilities pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1977, c.285 (C.45:1-2.5).

 

     6.    (New section)  The board shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its members and shall annually elect from among its members a chairperson and vice‑chairperson, and a secretary who need not be a member of the board.  The board shall meet twice a year and may hold additional meetings as necessary to discharge its duties.  A majority of the board membership shall constitute a quorum.

 

     7.    (New section)  The board shall:

     a.     Review the qualifications of applicants for licensure;

     b.    Adopt a code of ethics;

     c.     Insure the proper conduct and standards of examinations;

     d.    Issue and renew biennial licenses for dietitians/nutritionists pursuant to this act;

     e.     Refuse to admit a person to an examination or refuse to issue or suspend, revoke, or fail to renew the license of a dietitian/nutritionist pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1978, c.73 (C.45:1-14 et seq.);

     f.     Maintain a record of every dietitian/nutritionist licensed in this State, their place of business, place of residence, and the date and number of their license;

     g.    Prescribe or change the charges for examinations, licenses, renewals, and other services it performs pursuant to P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1 et seq.), and set the passing score on any examination it adopts as a licensure examination;

     h.    Establish rules and regulations with respect to continuing education requirements; and

     i.     Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     8.    (New section)  A person shall not practice dietetics/nutrition, whether compensated or not, unless the person holds a valid license to practice in this State, except nothing in this act shall be construed to:

     a.     Prohibit a person 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 that person’s license or any other person licensed to practice or certified to teach in this State under any other law from engaging in the practice or teaching for which that person is licensed, regulated, or certified;

     b.    Prohibit any student enrolled in a school or post-graduate course of dietetics/nutrition recognized by the board from performing that which is necessary to the student's course of study;

     c.     Prohibit any person from practicing dietetics/nutrition within the scope of the person’s official duties when employed by a department, agency, bureau, division, or other unit of the federal government, serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, or employed by any State institution or facility;

     d.    Prohibit any person who does not hold himself out to be a dietitian/nutritionist from furnishing nutritional information as to the use of food, food materials, or dietary supplements, or from engaging in the explanation to persons as to the use of food or food products including dietary supplements;

     e.     Prohibit any person involved in presenting a general program of instruction for weight control from doing so, provided the program has been approved in writing by a dietitian/nutritionist licensed in this State, a dietitian/nutritionist licensed in another state that has licensure requirements substantially equivalent to those of this State, as determined by the board, a dietitian registered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, or a licensed physician; or

     f.     Prohibit a dietetic technician from providing nutrition services under the supervision of a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.

 

     9.    (New section)  To be eligible to be licensed as a dietitian/nutritionist, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:

     a.     Be at least 18 years of age;

     b.    Be of good moral character; and

     c.     (1)  Provide evidence of current registration as a Registered Dietitian by the Commission on Dietetic Registration; or

     (2)   (a)  Have received a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a United States regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in nutritional sciences, human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, community nutrition, public health nutrition, nutrition education, or an equivalent major course of study, as approved by the board, and have successfully completed minimum course requirements in food sciences, social and behavioral sciences, chemistry, biology, human nutrition, and medical nutrition therapy, as determined by the board; or in the case of an applicant who has obtained an education outside of the United States, shall have the applicant’s academic degree validated by the board as being equivalent to a baccalaureate or master’s degree conferred by a United States regionally accredited college or university; and

     (b)   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 dietitian/nutritionist licensed in this State or licensed, registered, or certified in any other state having requirements for licensure, registration, or certification substantially similar to licensure requirements in this State, as approved by the board; or a registered dietitian registered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration; and

     (c)   Have passed an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to practice dietetics/nutrition, which shall be held by the board at least twice a year and may be administered by a national testing service, as determined by the board; or

     (3)  (a)  Have received from a United States regionally accredited college or university a master’s degree or doctorate in dietetics/nutritional sciences, human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, community nutrition, public health nutrition, nutrition education, or an equivalent major course of study, as approved by the board, and have successfully completed minimum course requirements in food sciences, social and behavioral sciences, chemistry, biology, human nutrition, and medical nutrition therapy, as determined by the board; or in the case of an applicant who has obtained an education outside of the United States, shall have the applicant’s academic degree validated by the board as being equivalent to a master’s degree or doctorate conferred by a United States regionally accredited college or university; and

     (b)   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 dietitian/nutritionist licensed in this State or licensed, registered, or certified in any other state having requirements for licensure, registration, or certification substantially similar to licensure requirements in this State, as approved by the board; a registered dietitian registered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration; or a licensed physician; and

     (c)   Have passed an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to practice dietetics/nutrition, as provided in subparagraph (c) of paragraph (2) of this subsection.

 

     10.  (New section)  The board shall issue a license to any applicant who, in the opinion of the board, has satisfactorily met all the requirements of this act.

     Except in the case of a temporary license issued pursuant to section 14 of this act, all licenses shall be issued for a two-year period upon the payment of the licensure fee prescribed by the board, and shall be renewed upon filing of a renewal application, the payment of a licensure fee, and presentation of satisfactory evidence that the renewal applicant has successfully completed the continuing education requirements prescribed by the board by regulation.

 

     11.  (New section)  Upon payment to the board of a fee and the submission of a written application on forms provided by it, the board shall license without examination a nutritionist or dietitian who is licensed, registered or certified by another state or possession of the United States or the District of Columbia which has standards substantially equivalent to those of this State.

 

     12.  (New section)  For a period of one year after the effective date of this act, any person who is practicing or residing in this State on the effective date of this act may qualify as a licensed dietitian/nutritionist upon application for licensure and payment of the appropriate fee, provided the applicant furnishes evidence satisfactory to the board that the applicant has received 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 human nutrition, foods and nutrition, food systems management, nutritional science, nutritional education, or related courses 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 this act.

     13.  (New section)  No person, business entity or its employees, agents, or representatives shall use the titles, “dietitian/nutritionist,” "nutritionist," "dietitian," “dietician,” "nutrition counselor," "nutrition consultant," "nutrition specialist," “LDN,” “LD,” “LN,” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia indicating the practice of dietetics/nutrition unless licensed to practice dietetics/nutrition under the provisions of this act.

 

     14.  (New section)  a.  Upon payment to the board of a fee and the submission of a written application on forms provided by it, the board shall issue a temporary license to a person who has applied for licensure pursuant to this act and who, in the judgment of the board, is eligible for examination.  A temporary license shall be available to an applicant with the applicant’s initial application for examination and the applicant may practice only under the direct supervision of a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.  A temporary license shall expire automatically upon failure of the licensure examination but may be renewed until the date of the next examination at which time it shall automatically expire and be surrendered to the board.

     b.    Upon payment to the board of a fee and the submission of a written application on forms provided by it, the board may issue without examination a temporary license to practice dietetics/nutrition in this State to a person who provides evidence that the person is in the State on a temporary basis to assist in a medical emergency or engage in a special project or teaching assignment relating to dietetics/nutrition.  A temporary license shall expire one year from its date of issuance, but it may be renewed by the board for an additional one year period.  This temporary license shall be surrendered to the board upon its expiration.

 

     15.  Section 1 of P.L.1971, c.60 (C.45:1-2.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and commissions: the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the New Jersey Real Estate Commission, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, the Acupuncture Examining Board, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, the Elevator, Escalator, and Moving Walkway Mechanics Licensing Board, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the State Board of Polysomnography, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy, the Genetic Counseling Advisory Committee, the State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists, and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.71, s.13)

 

     16.  Section 1 of P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and commissions:  the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, the Acupuncture Examining Board, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, the Elevator, Escalator, and Moving Walkway Mechanics Licensing Board, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Polysomnography, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy, the Genetic Counseling Advisory Committee, the State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists, and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.71, s.15)

     17.  Section 2 of P.L.1978, c.73 (C.45:1-15) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and all professions or occupations regulated by, through or with the advice of those boards:  the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, the Elevator, Escalator, and Moving Walkway Mechanics Licensing Board, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Polysomnography, the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the Occupational Therapy Advisory Council, the Electrologists Advisory Committee, the Acupuncture Advisory Committee, the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee, the Athletic Training Advisory Committee, the Certified Psychoanalysts Advisory Committee, the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee, the Home Inspection Advisory Committee, the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee, the Hearing Aid Dispensers Examining Committee, the Perfusionists Advisory Committee, the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee, the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy, the Genetic Counseling Advisory Committee, the State Board of Dietitians/Nutritionists, and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf:  P.L.2013, c.253, s.34)

 

     18.  This act shall take effect immediately, except that sections 8 and 13 of this act shall take effect one year after the date of enactment.

STATEMENT

 

     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.