Can Health & Wellness Centers Legally Create a Telehealth Presence?

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    In today’s video, we address a physician’s questions about creating a health and wellness center while developing a telehealth presence.

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

    Dr. Jim wants to expand his functional and integrative medicine practice and build out a multi-disciplinary health and wellness center that includes practitioners like homeopathic medicine, Aryuvedic medicine, traditional oriental medicine, massage therapy and bodywork, shamanic practices, energy healing, nutritional advice, health coaching, reiki, physical therapy, lots of other modalities.  He also wants to have an online telehealth presence.

    Dr. Jim wants to extricate himself from his full-time hospital position and ensure that his healthcare venture succeeds. He wants to know the best legal structure and he has a ton of legal questions.

    First, Dr. Jim has three different operations here: he got his own practice, functional and integrative medicine, he participates in the health and wellness center, and he got his telehealth presence. He shouldn’t get caught up in the tax intricacies of an S versus C versus LLC.  That’s for his tax accountant to wrestle with.  The key is, he needs three different things here, one for each part of his overall business model. He needs a professional medical corporation for his medical practice, if he doesn’t already have one; he needs an MSO to house the wellness center; and then either a separate entity for the telehealth venture or, he might tuck that operation into the professional medical corporation or the MSO, depending on the branding and how he will deploy his online skills.

    Next, for the telehealth venture, Dr. Jim, working with his healthcare counsel, has to determine whether he is going to be engaging in clinical, medical advice online, or, try to wear a different hat here, one that is more educational and informational and limits guidance to health coaching, without getting into the clinical and medical domain.  The legal boundaries here can be challenging, yet navigable, as long as one is aware of the regulatory risks.

    Third, Dr. Jim worries about standard of care issues. In telehealth, the standard of care is the same as if the patient was being seen in person.  That is, assuming Dr. Jim has a true telemedicine model and not a coaching model, which we address elsewhere on our blog.

    Fourth, Dr. Jim in the telemedicine model might face some issues around whether he can prescribe based on an online interaction only. The laws here change rapidly and they require a state-by-state review.

    Last, Dr. Jim will need consent forms, disclaimers, a privacy policy and terms of use, and other legal documents. As well he will require an MSA or Management Services Agreement to govern the relationship between the health and wellness center, which is the MSO and his professional medical corporation.

    We have a lot more detail on each of these topics, and much more, on our Healthcare & FDA Law Blog.

    Thanks for watching. Please contact us with your questions. We have helped so many people in the industry grow and scale, launch – and we’re here for you, and we will celebrate your journey toward success!


    • I would definitely recommend. I needed direction regarding the FDA and how the rules would affect my business. Responsive, accessible, and knowledgeable.

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      Richard Freedland GRAMedical, CEO
    • Impressive credentials are only overshadowed by their clear awareness of practical strategies to help Physicians navigate modern healthcare and achieve successful outcomes.

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      James Riviezzo Practice On Your Terms

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