06/15/2018 - The Modernize Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act, H.B. 357, passed the North Carolina legislature on June 14 and is a significant win for the Academy, the North Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the people of North Carolina. It represents the culmination of more than three years of negotiations to draft legislation that ensures high standards of qualifications for licensure and opens up additional professional opportunities for RDNs to practice at the height of their scope of practice.
The bill will address laboratory and diet order writing, to align it with a July 2014 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule, allowing for qualified nutrition professionals to write therapeutic diet orders. The CMS rule change gave specific authority to qualified nutrition professionals to write therapeutic diet orders, including total parenteral nutrition.
CMS made this change based on studies demonstrating that when dietitians/nutritionists are given the authority to write diet orders in hospital and long-term care settings, they have done so with a significant cost savings and improved patient care.
By creating an additional pathway to licensure for certain advanced degree nutrition professionals as "licensed nutritionists," the bill brings a small subset of qualified nutritionists into the health care field and allows for these professionals who meet exacting, objective standards to provide cost saving nutrition services.
The Academy applauds North Carolina for providing legislation that recognizes the ever-changing and complex field of dietetics and nutrition.