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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 19, 2021 02:05 PM
From: Representative Thomas L. Mehaffie, III
To: All House members
Subject: Updates to the Professional Nursing Law for Dietitian Nutritionists - Prior HB1802
In the near future, I will be re-introducing former HB1802, Updates to the Professional Nursing Law for Dietitian Nutritionists. 

Since 2002, when the Professional Nursing Law was revised to include Licensed Dietitian Nutritionists, the practice of dietetics and nutrition has evolved significantly. Language updates are needed in sections pertaining to title protection and scope of practice.

Licensed dietitian nutritionists (LDN) and Licensed Nutritionists (LN) assess, counsel, and evaluate the diets and nutritional health needs of their patients, which is crucial for the treatment and/or management of specific diseases and overall wellbeing.

Unfortunately, some individuals take advantage of consumers by falsely claiming to be dietitians and/or nutritionists without appropriate education and training. This may cause delays in receiving appropriate advice and care for diet-related disease, potentially decreasing quality of life and increasing healthcare costs. Patients need to be protected against this fraud.

In response, this bill will expand title protection and provide practice protection for licensed dietitian nutritionists. It will more clearly outline the range of functions and responsibilities of dietitian nutritionists.
Last session, this language was introduced as HB 1802. Since then, the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PAND) has worked closely with several stakeholder groups in order to address any outstanding concerns with the language. Here are some of the changes to the language:
  • Clarification of medical weight loss;
  • More narrowly tailoring medical nutrition therapy to assure its focus is on diagnosed diseases;
  • Inclusion of unlicensed individuals’ ability to provide herbal therapies; and
  • Clarification to assure that those not meeting qualifications for a license are still enabled to provide coaching and other services in the general nutrition arena.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation and help protect Pennsylvania’s healthcare patients.

Introduced as HB1020