LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2012) — Gov. Steve Beshear today conducted a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 198 that addressed some oversights in a law establishing licensure requirements for diabetes educators in Kentucky.
The legislation was designed to improve consumer protection, raise professional standards within the field of diabetes management and care and increase access to care.
Kentucky is the first state to require diabetes educators to be licensed, a move viewed as a step forward in the ongoing efforts to combat the country’s diabetes epidemic. Amendments to the original law, however, were necessary to ensure that the practice of diabetes education is protected under Kentucky law.
“Through this innovative legislation, we are raising professional standards for diabetes management and care,” Beshear said. “For years, our certified diabetes educators have worked diligently to assist patients with diabetes. By adding the licensure requirement, we are taking an important step forward in terms of recognition for the diabetes educator.”
SB 198 is modeled after the law that applies to dietitians and nutritionists. Specifically, it addresses the practice of licensed diabetes educators and the penalty for practicing diabetes education without a license.
Building on the original law that established licensure, the language in SB 198 allows for a clear definition of scope of practice for the qualified diabetes educator; helps establish the minimum quality standards for providing the service; and offers more protection for the patient with diabetes and the provider of diabetes education services.
Under the amended law, penalties and violations are Class A misdemeanors, as is the case with the dietitians and nutritionists.
“This is truly a step forward in the field of diabetes management and care,” said Dr. Steve Davis, acting commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Not only are we raising professional standards and heightening recognition for those working in the field, we are improving standards for patients, as well. Ultimately, this will lead to better care and management of the disease.”
Professionals seeking licensure in Kentucky will apply to a board comprised of five people representing various stakeholders in the field of diabetes management. Additional continuing education, licensure fees and practicing standards will be required to maintain a diabetes educator license.
Diabetes educators are highly skilled professionals integral to the multidisciplinary diabetes care team. They counsel patients on how to incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into their life. They also help patients understand how their medications work, teach them how to monitor their blood glucose to avoid the risk of complications, and give them the ability to problem solve and adjust emotionally to diabetes.