I recently enrolled my 16-year-old son in a small business course. He needed to take his college entrance exam. I had spent time researching the Department of Health Education and Welfare’s (DHEW) FDA Consumer Information Home Study and Service Manual and wanted to find out more about the “Bona Fide Practitioner” requirement that my son needed to meet.
As a practicing, certified, and responsible nutritionist, I have helped thousands of patients, particularly children, lose weight, develop a healthy eating plan, and lose weight or maintain it over time. As such, I am not only an expert on food and diet but a trained health advocate and researcher.
One of the first things I found out was that the “Bona Fide Practitioner” requirement was set by the Food and Drug Administration’s examination requirements, which were different than those set by the National Association of Board Examiners. In fact, the FDA has made it a practice to send out hundreds of these letters to health care providers every year, without a valid reason.
I would also like to point out that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, was the entity responsible for sending out these letters. Why? The DHEW, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, had set the guidelines for physicians’ knowledge of how to properly document their practices, even though the rules are different than the federal examiners.
To understand how the Food and Drug Act does not protect health professionals from these regulatory tests, one must understand the differences between the two branches. The DHEW is a branch of the department, while the FDA is a division within the department.
When the Food and Drug Act was enacted in 1906, it was meant to protect consumers, not to protect healthcare providers from regulation. Today, the Food and Drug Act is administered by the Federal Trade Commission and then the Office of the Secretary of HHS.
So, who determines the food industry standards? The Office of the Secretary of HHS, which is an arm of the department, decides.
The Food and Drug Act examiners are tasked with making sure that consumers receive reasonable access to information regarding the safety, effectiveness, and purity of drugs. This includes informing patients of the correct dosage of medication, its benefits and risks, how long to use it, and how to use it correctly.
The Office of the Secretary of HHS sets the standards and regulations in all facets of the United States healthcare system, including food and drug regulations. It holds yearly consultations with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and drug manufacturers. However, as a parent, you should realize that it is the FDA that holds the final authority for regulating the sale and distribution of food and drug products in the United States.
According to the Federal Test of Credentialing Act, no medical professional can practice medicine unless the medical specialty board first approves him or her to practice medicine. The Federal Test of Credentialing Act provides due process for healthcare providers who need to be re-certified annually, while providing the flexibility necessary to allow healthcare providers to learn new skills or choose new specialties.
I hope you’ll please consider this if you have children or are a parent trying to find out what national healthcare requirements your child or college student is meeting. You can find out here.