News & Press: Advocacy News

Hospital privileges for Wisconsin RDNs to go into effect on July 1

Tuesday, June 21, 2016  
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In just 10 days – on Friday, July 1, 2016 – Wisconsin RDNs who work in hospital settings will be authorized to order patient diets and certain lab tests without physician approval.


The change to state law reflects a new federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule that permits qualified dietitians – and other or qualified nutrition professionals – to become privileged by a hospital to:


  • Order patient diets;


  • Order lab tests to monitor the effectiveness of dietary plans and orders; and


  • Make subsequent modifications to those diets based on the lab tests.

The rule leaves it up to hospitals to determine who will be privileged, and all new privileges enjoyed by RDNs must be in compliance with individual state scope of practice laws.


According to the CMS, “the addition of ordering privileges under the rule enhances the ability that RDNs already have to provide timely, cost-effective, and evidence-based nutrition services as the recognized nutrition experts on a hospital interdisciplinary team.”



History of New Rule:


Back in July 2014, the CMS issued the new rule, which was a major policy victory for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Unfortunately, Wisconsin regulations did not align with the CMS rule when it went into effect on July 11, 2014, meaning Wisconsin RDNs could not independently order diets. As mentioned above, that is about to change.


During the 2013-14 legislative session, the Wisconsin Legislature passed 2013 WI Act 236, which requires the WI Department of Health Services, effective July 1, 2016, to terminate the use of current state hospital regulations and instead use the federal (CMS) Medicare COP as the minimum state regulatory standard for Wisconsin hospitals.

As a result, beginning this Friday (July 1), Wisconsin RDNs can be granted hospital privileges to order patient diets and corresponding lab tests.

For more information on the CMS rule, please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.