Wisconsin is set to join many other states by introducing a Consumer Choice & Wellness Act to the legislature, but this bill will only pass with citizen support.
• Will ensure complementary and alternative health practitioners (weight loss clinics, nutritionists, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) the right to continue providing their services.
• Will protect your freedom of choice to seek treatment with these specialists.
Please sign the petition to let your representatives know you are in support of Consumer Choice & Wellness Act, SB 280:
Reasons to support this legislation: SB 280 Consumer Choice and Wellness Act
1. Is non-partisan—Those of all political persuasions are affected equally. The Wisconsin Health Freedom Coalition (WIHFC), which is heading this bill, has a diverse makeup of political liberals and conservatives seeking freedom of choice in health care.
2. Is locally sponsored—Besides numerous Wisconsin individuals, the largest advocate is the Wisconsin Health Freedom Coalition which is comprised of Wisconsin residents, with the assistance of an attorney from Minnesota.
3. Is for the "little guy"—It is not crony-capitalism legislation. There is no sponsorship from large corporations with vested interests. Supporters are almost exclusively from small and independent businesses and those helped by them.
4. Is non-monopolistic—Instead of seeking to control the whole field of dietetics and nutrition, it seeks to protect those involved in various nutrition-related practices and businesses who do not practice in an area requiring licensure.
5. Reduces costs to health care insurance providers because fees are primarily out of pocket.
6. Protects an economical health-care alternative with low costs that are pennies on the dollar compared to conventional medicine.
7. Protects a safe alternative where clients experience virtually no negative side effects when compared to those treated with drugs and other medical procedures.
8. Maintains public access to natural and nutritional healing protocols.
9. Provides a platform in which to practice complementary and alternative health services.
10. Provides protection from frivolous charges being brought for giving everyday common-sense advice and services that do not harm.
Please sign the petition, call your representatives, and ask your friends to do the same. Let's protect freedom of consumer choice in health care!
In 2009 a bill was introduced in the Wisconsin Senate and House of Representatives that would have severely limited the rights of nutritionists to practice. Following is an overview of the bill and its impacts.
Although the bill was defeated in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 legislative session through much hard work on the grassroots level, it is very likely that a similar bill will be re-introduced in the 2011-12 session.
Karen and other alternative-health-care practitioners around the state plan to introduce a new bill in the 2011-12 session to protect the freedom of the consumer to choose where they will receive their health care. Read on to see how the previous bill limited practitioners and those seeking nutritional advice.
Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout in 2009 introduced legislation known as the Dietary Licensing Bill (SB 115) that would restrict nutritional assessments and recommendations given by persons that are not registered dieticians.
Although the claimed intent by the lobbying organizations, the American Dietary Association (ADA) and its affiliate, the Wisconsin Dietary Association (WDA), was to protect the public from harmful advice, the true impact of this bill is to limit public access to qualified practitioners. As registered dieticians ascribe to only one philosophy of nutritional care, this bill would keep other scientifically-based and effective nutritional therapies from being practiced. It is obvious that the intent of the bill is to fence out qualified nutritionists that are non-ADA approved as the exemptions in the bill allow for nurses, chiropractors, dentists, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, podiatrists, and pharmacists to practice nutrition although these professionals have little to no nutritional training.
In Wisconsin there are currently 600 alternative nutrition providers who have extensive training in the science and cultural aspects of nutrition. These practicing nutritionists have nutritional training that far exceeds that of the aforementioned exempted professionals. These 600 nutritionists would be forced to close their businesses if this bill passed. Additionally, the bill would adversely impact the businesses of 1,000+ health food stores and 8,000+ food-based supplement distributors, who rely on the nutrition professionals to make specific advice regarding their supplements to individuals. The bill would limit the careers of 700+ students, many of whom are currently enrolled in state or nationally accredited nutrition programs,
Professional groups, both health care and otherwise, have lobbied legislatures for decades in order to gain licensure. Particularly in the health care field, licensure is presented as a means for protecting the public. However, consumer protection laws as well as the court system are already in place to protect the public from fraud and abuse. The byproducts of many licensure laws are turf and title protection for a few professionals, with the laws used as a way to restrict competition.
This issue of licensure was addressed in the Wisconsin legislature in 1993 which resulted in the 1993 Wisconsin Act 443. The legislature considered whether dieticians required licensing and whether they would have exclusive access to the term nutrition. The resulting bill provided for the credentialing of dieticians. The need for licensing and control over the term nutrition were rejected by the legislature at that time. Since then, this level of regulation has proved perfectly adequate.
There is no need to revisit this bill except to benefit existing dieticians. There are countless people who have been and are currently being helped by nutritionists that are not registered dieticians. Wisconsin residents should remain free to choose whom they would like to seek for nutritional advice.