Health Care

A recent article in Forbes asked whether it is time to reconsider Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). The article’s author is the founder of an employee benefits solution and points out that EAPs are significantly underutilized and undervalued by employees. As a result of this lack of appreciation and use for EAPs, the author argues that more personalized, specialized services would better serve employees, rather than the typical “one size fits all” approach of EAPs.

The author is correct that
Continue Reading No, EAPs are not Dead, they just need a Re-Brand

As a lawyer who practices in both the health care and wellness worlds, I have the advantage of witnessing strategies to try to improve health outcomes in both worlds. One issue that is dominating the health care policy literature is implementing strategies to address Social Determinants of Health (“SDOH”). SDOH includes issues like:

  • family relationships,
  • housing
  • education levels
  • income and employment concerns,
  • cultural values
  • legal status (such as immigration, criminal or credit history status)

These issues can have an
Continue Reading Tackling the Social Determinants of Health through Wellness-Legal Partnerships

Have you ever paid the price for a hotel room that is listed on the back of the door? Me neither. It’s common knowledge that the market price of a room is typically less than what is posted.

Similarly, most patients and payers don’t pay the price listed on a hospital’s chargemaster. Accordingly, when hospitals were first required to disclose their chargemasters publicly, the data just didn’t mean much.1

The actual cost of health care services is most
Continue Reading Price Transparency Laws Reveal Negotiated Prices between Providers and Health Plans

Many health and wellness coaches obtain free legal templates through their coaching certification or training programs. These templates might include services agreements, waiver or disclaimer documents, and even privacy policies or other essential legal documents for a compliant coaching practice. The essential question about these free templates is whether they are worth using? Are the templates good enough for a health coaching startup business?
Lawyers Don’t Like Them
There are a number of articles on this topic. And if
Continue Reading Are Free Legal Templates for Health and Wellness Coaches a Good Idea?

Retirement Plan Developments

IRS Extends Additional Deadlines for Adopting Amendments Under CARES Act and CAA
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the deadline for amending eligible retirement plans to reflect provisions relating to plan loans and coronavirus‑related distributions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and qualified disaster‑related distributions under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA).  The IRS announced the extension in Notice 2022‑45.

The CARES Act allowed qualified individuals to receive favorable
Continue Reading Retirement and Health Plan Legal Updates, Compliance Deadlines

That is a question I hear from a lot of health and wellness practitioners. The answer to whether you can use a telehealth platform to practice your craft on a national, or even international basis, depends on whether you are acting under a state-issued license.

Licensed Health Care Providers

If you are practicing under a state-issued license, such as a medical doctor, nurse, psychologist, physical therapist, chiropractor or naturopathic doctor, for example, then you must be licensed in each
Continue Reading Can I Practice Telemedicine Nationally?

On August 11, 2022, the CDC updated its COVID-19 guidance as the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID exposure has significantly declined. This Legal Update is primarily focused on the legal compliance obligations for private sector employers. The CDC will issue more specific guidance for specific industries and settings, such as healthcare, congregate settings with higher risk of transmission, and travel. von Briesen’s School Law Section will be issuing a legal update with recommendations for schools.
Continue Reading CDC Adjusts Direction on Exposure Quarantine Requirements for Employees

As predicted by our law firm, the word is getting out that workplace wellness programs are a hot target for employment-based lawsuits. In the past week, legal activity in two separate workplace wellness programs located in Illinois has ramped up. This blog will give a summary of both pending cases.
AARP v. Austin Industries
The AARP, the same organization that was behind the Yale University lawsuit, filed a charge with the EEOC on behalf of employees of Austin
Continue Reading Two for 2022: Two More Wellness Incentive Lawsuits!

A lot of our clients specialize in the mental health space. Some practice as licensed psychologists, social workers or professional counselors, while others are unlicensed emotional wellness, mental health and wellbeing coaches. The main difference between those two groups is that one group (the licensed group) are regulated by state licensing boards. The second group (the coaching group) are not regulated by state licensing boards, at least not directly.

Coaching in the mental health and emotional wellness space can
Continue Reading What is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Coach?

This is an interesting question, as many organizations lump the terms “health and wellness” together when talking about coaching. As a wellness lawyer who serves a lot of  health coaches and wellness providers, I do think there is (or at least should be) a difference. Health coaches try to help clients achieve health goals. This works best when done in tandem with licensed healthcare providers. Health coaches are ideal to include as part of a health care provider’s services,
Continue Reading What is the Difference Between a Health Coach and a Wellness Coach?

As a lawyer who represents a lot of different health and wellness coaches, I have seen some very successful coaching businesses. These coaching businesses make a lot of money, but the best part is that they help a lot of clients in need. Clients want services from these coaches. So much so that some of my clients have waiting lists for new clients that extend beyond a year. How do they do it? Well, here are my observations as
Continue Reading Can I Really Make Money as a Health Coach?

Health and wellness coaches are not legally required to have certain credentials to serve as health, life or wellbeing coaches or consultants. The advantage of serving clients as a health, life or wellness coach is that unlike licensed professionals, no state in the United States regulates the practice of health or wellness coaching. That means you do not need any certificates, training or degrees to open up a practice or become a self-employed health, wellness or wellbeing coach. You
Continue Reading How do I Start a Health and Wellness Coach Business?

Many of our clients provide employee support services through or in addition to corporate wellness programs. Awareness of employee mental health issues is on the rise, so many wellness providers, such as health and wellness coaches, therapists, integrative health providers and holistic health providers wish to offer wellness services to address employee stress and anxiety. If those wellness services are provided to each and every employee, instead of just employees who are already enrolled in the company health plan,
Continue Reading Federal Laws and EAP Wellness Programs Providing “Medical Care”

Online health, wellness and holistic health coaching is gaining popularity with the clients of our law firm. The internet and creation of multiple virtual platform options for coaches has allowed coaches to expand their business and clients to across the nation, and even globally.

With expansion of coaching services to multiple states comes additional legal exposure in those states. The potential legal exposure can be from clients in those foreign states or state regulators in those foreign states. Here
Continue Reading Can Online Health and Wellness Coaches Get Sued Across State Lines?

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Overturning two prior precedents, Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the Dobbs decision permits states to regulate and/or prohibit access to abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Following the decision, it is expected that at least 26 states will ban or severely curtail access to abortion.

Considering the shifting legal landscape, many employee benefit plans sponsors are seeking guidance
Continue Reading Dobbs: Considerations for Plan Sponsors Post-Roe

COVID-19, the job market, and now inflation consume us. Older Americans and those with disabilities are more drastically affected by all three, especially due to the consistent need for quality caregiving services in an unstable economy.

In January 2019, a Harvard Business School Report compelled the country to acknowledge the “caregiving shortage crisis,” which has only worsened post the pandemic. Millions of seniors and people with disabilities require long-term services and support, and most want these services at
Continue Reading Drafting Caregiver Agreements that Combat the Caregiving Crisis