Beware of Medical Claims for COVID-19 and Natural Products: New Guidance from AANP

Worldwide, the age of COVID-19 has ushered in a plethora of medical claims concerning the use of natural products to prevent and/or treat the pathogen. Here in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been clamping down on bad actors, and those well-intentioned but under-informed about the current, and sometimes opaque, rules of the road. Federal responses have been accelerated by a perniciously persistent pandemic that lacks an approved

Leveraging Medical Savings Accounts for Integrative Health Products and Services

You possess a powerful tool to enhance your business and expand your influence and goodwill for the good of your patients and customers. It’s called a medical savings account. Are you leveraging this tax-deferred tool? I have always wondered why integrative healthcare practices and businesses aren’t savvier at promoting the economic attributes of health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible savings accounts (FSA) to their current, and prospective, patients and customers.

Quality Counts: A Clinician’s Guide to Supplement Quality

Quality: It’s a Clinical Issue Dietary supplements have become an integral part of American life—and American healthcare. Despite the recession, the supplement industry has grown steadily at 5%-6% per year–twice the rate of OTC drugs. According to a 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics, more than half of all U.S. adults regularly take supplements. A 2016 survey sponsored by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, puts the figure

Are Physician Online Dietary Supplement Sales Legal?

Are physician online dietary supplement sales, kickbacks or fee-splitting? The Challenge of Physician Online Dietary Supplement Sales Can physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other healthcare licensees create a legally defensible contractual arrangement with a dietary supplement manufacturer or distributor, in which the healthcare clinician receives a discount, rebate, or commission when referring a patient for online purchase of the manufacturer’s dietary supplements? Let’s take Singularity Supplements, a fictional dietary supplement manufacturer,

Independent Contractor Physician—Kickback or Compensation?

If you’re a successful physician, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or other licensed healthcare provider, and you want to provide overflow patients to another practitioner you hire, is it a kickback if you pay that second practitioner as an independent contractor? Are payments to an independent contractor physician a kickback? Kickback Basics Let’s review some kickback basics, to start. Stark (or self-referral) arises when the physician refers patients to an entity in which

Telemedicine Legal Series—Conclusion: Putting it All Together

A few years ago, telemedicine and telehealth burst on the scene, immediately challenging established legal frameworks built around brick-and-mortar practices. The novelty forced healthcare practitioners and companies—and the lawyers who represent them—to work through the holes in the law, in an effort to bring new practices and products to market. Today, there exists legislative and regulatory activity on telemedicine and telehealth in almost every state. Though medicine and various healthcare

Telemedicine Legal Series—Part 7: Unlicensed Practice, Fee-Splitting, & Other Legal Hazards

While we’ve focused this series on legal issues that frequently arise in telemedicine and telehealth, there are sister legal issues involved when healthcare practitioners and healthcare tech companies get involved. These and other critical legal hazards that routinely arise include: Unlicensed Practice of Medicine Unlicensed and corporate practice of medicine issues arise in telemedicine because the company offering telemedicine services is typically organized and operated by non-medical doctors. This means

Telemedicine Legal Series—Part 6: Mobile Medical Apps

When medicine is practiced through an app installed on a mobile device, do different rules apply? How does the law regulate telemedicine via the app, and the app itself? Mobile Apps as a Telemedicine Platform In one sense, mobile apps are simply another platform for the delivery of telemedicine services. That is, instead of doctors and other healthcare providers connecting with patients via the Internet on a desktop or laptop,

Telemedicine Legal Series—Part 5: HIPAA

Privacy, confidentiality, and security issues arise when practicing telehealth or telemedicine just as they do in a brick-and-mortar practice. It’s especially important to understand these issues, since many clinicians advertise on their website that they are “HIPAA compliant.” Does HIPAA Apply Stated in the most basic terms, HIPAA applies to use and disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”), if transactions are billed electronically for third-party reimbursement. Given that there are