How Can a Multi-Disciplinary Health & Wellness Platform Handle Legal Risks?

How Can a Multi-Disciplinary Health & Wellness Platform Handle Legal Risks?

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    In today’s video, we ask: what are some key legal strategies that a multi-disciplinary health and wellness, mobile platform or app can deploy to handle legal risks?

    Hi, I’m Michael H. Cohen, founding attorney of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group. We help healthcare industry clients just like you, navigate healthcare and FDA legal issues so you can launch or grow, and scale your healthcare business.

    In today’s scenario, Doris (let’s just say) is the founder of a healthcare startup that wants to connect its online customers with health and wellness providers including, for example, some of these below.

    Let’s say physicians practicing integrative and functional medicine, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine and traditional oriental medicine, registered dieticians and nutritionists, health coaches and life coaches, exercise physiologists, personal trainers, and energy healers.

    Doris has a number of questions for us.

    1. Can a healthcare practitioner who is licensed in State A, provide health and wellness services to customers in different states where the practitioner is not licensed?

    This depends, among other things on two criteria: First, whether telehealth laws from the customer’s State require a license or have some kind of a telehealth exception for a remote licensed practitioner; and second, whether the healthcare practitioner intends to function in a licensed capacity or more in a “coaching” capacity.  We talk about legal issues at great length on our blog, pertaining to coaching, and also in our video series. So, you can go ahead and look those up after this one.

    1. Does it matter whether the practitioner is licensed or certified?

    These terms are often confused.  Certification only really matters in assessing the practitioner’s competence to practice.  A State license really is the ticket to lawful practice – yet even here, you got to assess whether the State requires licensure to do the activity, or only to claim a designated title, such as “nutritionist.”

    1. Do communications have to be secured in HIPAA-compliant portals?

    Again, it depends. If professional services will be provided and sent to insurance companies, electronically, for third-party reimbursement, then yes, HIPAA applies.  But even if HIPAA doesn’t technically apply, typically there are State laws that require reasonable practices to ensure privacy and security.

    1. Can the healthcare startup hire the practitioners directly?

    If the practitioners are physicians or psychologists, then typically, no, hiring them as independent contractors would be a corporate practice of medicine violation.  In these cases, we typically use a modified MSO model, in which the venture serves as a technology platform providing services to those licensed healthcare professionals.  When it comes to massage therapists, coaches, healers, the legal landscape is somewhat more forgiving.

    Thanks for watching. Please let us know if you have any questions. You can contact us or book an appointment. We have helped lots of healthcare industry clients build their dream and we look forward to hearing from you and to working with you soon!

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