Do Health Coaches Risk Unlicensed Practice of Medicine, Psychology or Nutrition?

Do Health Coaches Risk Unlicensed Practice of Medicine, Psychology or Nutrition?

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    In today’s video, we discuss health coaching and whether health coaches can carve out a professional niche that doesn’t create undue risk of enforcement for unlicensed practice of medicine, psychology, or nutrition.

    I’m Michael H. Cohen, founding attorney of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group.  Since 1999, our law firm has counseled hundreds of healthcare industry clients each year on healthcare and FDA legal issues.

    Health coaching is very popular.  I’ve personally benefited from health coaches, who have counseled me on nutrition and fitness.  I’ve also had coaching on relationship, money, even my relationship to the stars.

    And I mean those shiny beacons of light in the heavenly firmament, not celebrities residing in Hollywood.  I like coaching.  I’m also the oldest of three brothers, and while I don’t charge as a health coach, I do a lot of coaching myself.  I’m always giving advice.  That’s what older brothers grow up doing.  This is probably one reason I became a lawyer.

    Anyway: we’ve counseled dozens and dozens of health coaches, partly because the reason I first became interested in healthcare law was because of my interest in energy healing.  Energy healers normally don’t get licensed the way medical doctors and chiropractors do, and so I came to see the way “medicine” gets licensed as a potential stumbling block for the practice of energy healing, hypnotherapy, and more.

    Some of our most successful clients are Health Coaches and the big issue they need to be aware is the statutory prohibition against unlicensed practice of medicine. You see, the law defines the practice of medicine in a very broad way. It talks about diagnosis, treatment, prescription and operation for any illness, disease, injury and their host of other synonyms.

    It’s very broad. Diagnosis and treatment are the principle words and these are interpreted very broadly by the courts. I wrote a book some years ago, and I looked at the way that these statutes evolved over time and basically how they came in with these really broad definitions and how courts understood treatment and diagnosis to mean just about anything involving human health and wellness.

    So while today we have a much bigger bandwidth for wellness as opposed to just medical practice, the practice of medicine statutes can still be an issue.

    We have a lot more in our blog at cohenhealthcarelaw.com. And you’re welcome to look at our many resources. Thanks for watching this video. Please contact us, we look forward to speaking with you soon.

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