The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC Blogs

The health coaching market is growing. According to Precedence Research, the global health coach market is projected to grow by 6.7% annually to be worth around $27.8 billion by 2030. Because of the worldwide pandemic in 2020, telehealth and remote visits have exploded, making health coaching even more attractive and viable as a business across the world. As a result, we at the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC receive a lot of questions from aspiring health and wellness coaches about whether and how they can practice beyond their home borders. For many coaches based in the…
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just recently confirmed what had been surmised all along:  that employers can incentivize employees to get the COVID19 vaccine. However, as expected, there are some caveats and conditions that accompany this decision. If You Merely Ask Employees for Proof of Vaccination by a Third-Party, Incentives to Vaccinate are OK. According to the new EEOC guidance, an employer may incentivize employees to encourage the employee and their family members to get the COVID19 vaccine. The EEOC reasons that such incentives would not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Genetic Information…
The Center for Health and Wellness Law often works with wellness companies and providers who want to conduct biometric screening tests as part of health fairs or health promotion events. Sometimes these events are held at the worksite as a benefit to employees, other times they may be open to the public. In either case, wellness companies and providers, such as nurses, doctors, dietitians, or health coaches, must be aware of legal restrictions and requirements involved when collecting “blood specimens,” either through finger stick or venipuncture. There are two sources of law wellness companies and providers should address when planning…
On June 11, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent an email alerting the public about emergency temporary standards (ETS) for those working in “healthcare” to protect them from COVID-19 exposure now that vaccinations are available. These standards stem from one of President Biden’s first Executive Orders issued on January 21, 2021. As with most health-related guidance, it is not obvious whether these standards apply to wellness providers, or “Complementary and Alternative Medicine (“CAM”) Providers.” Wellness providers might include health coaches, naturopathic doctors, ayurvedic medical providers, functional medicine providers, lifestyle medicine providers, acupuncturists, chiropractors, nutritional counselors, fitness professionals,…
A lot of health and wellness coaches would like to order labs and interpret those lab results so that they can provide more tailored, specific advice to their clients about their nutrition and dietary needs. Unfortunately, unless the coach is a licensed health care professional in the state in which their client resides, such as a physician or dietitian, ordering labs and interpreting those labs to provide specific advice is likely outside of the coach’s scope of practice. The least risky way to practice health and wellness coaching is to offer services that support, encourage and educate clients. Diving into…
If you are a health or wellness coach, you may wonder if you are subject to HIPAA privacy and security standards. Many coaches assume they are, but many of them would be wrong. That doesn’t mean HIPAA privacy and security standards should not play a role in your practice, but whether coaches are technically required to comply does play a role in how address privacy and security concerns of you and your clients. If you are like most health and wellness coaches, you will likely collect private information from your clients. This may be health information, and will certainly be…
Determining your wellness program’s “group health plan” status is an important first step for achieving compliance.  Whether your workplace wellness program qualifies as a group health plan or a non-group health plan dictates which laws apply.  For example, group health plan wellness programs are subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), whereas non-group health plan wellness programs are not. ERISA defines “group health plan” as “an employer-sponsored welfare benefit plan to the extent that the plan…
There is growing interest in spiritual wellbeing. According to one article: “The growing interest in spirituality within the practice of medicine may be attributed to the fact that medical studies and research reveal that the religious faith of a patient impacts positively on their recovery from surgery, and is beneficial in reducing ailments related to stress such as high blood pressure and depression.” Given the increased stress felt by employees, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19, many employers and wellness professionals may seek assistance from spiritual coaches. An important and relevant legal question is whether spiritual coaching can…
One question that frequently arises in my wellness law practice is whether and how employers can tie incentives to Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. Given that tax season is upon us, and HSA’s are tax-favored accounts, I thought it would be appropriate to offer some background and legal considerations on this topic. The Role of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) Many employers tackle the rising costs of health benefits by offering high deductible health plans (HDHPs). By offering HDHPs, employees can then enroll in an HSA. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: HDHPs allow workers to establish Health Savings…
The physician self-referral law, or “Stark Law,” prohibits physicians from referring patients to receive “designated health services” — payable by Medicare or Medicaid — from entities in which the physician holds a direct or indirect financial interest. For instance, a physician cannot refer a patient to an entity that provides magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans if the physician has a direct or indirect financial interest in the MRI entity. Why? Because physicians should make referrals based on the patient’s best interest, and the allure of compensation may detract from that goal. Enacted in 1989 and expanded in 1993 with many…
Many new health and wellness coaches and other start-ups wrestle with the decision of whether to create a legal entity.  With the advent of virtual platforms or telehealth technology, starting a wellness coaching or virtual health business is gaining traction. I have had many clients seeking health coaching lawyers ask me should I even bother?  The basis for this question is that when you venture out on your own, you become a “sole proprietor” unless you actively register your business with a State, such as your own state or another state like Delaware.  So, the default legal status of any…
Now that the COVID19 vaccine is rolling out, many employers are wondering whether and how they might incentivize employees to receive the vaccine. As noted in a previous blog post, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance on mandating the COVID19 vaccine. One would think that if the EEOC has laid a pathway for mandating the vaccine, then merely incentivizing the vaccine should be permissible by default. But employers are wary of making that assumption, and in early February, forty-two of them wrote the EEOC asking for clarification on whether incentivizing the vaccine is permissible. This desire…
It is in an employer’s best interest to have employees be healthy and happy, because such traits lead to more productivity and job satisfaction. But employees are not always healthy or happy. Life happens to employees, and sometimes those life changes are short-lived, and other times those changes can have long-lasting consequences. Enter the employee wellness program. Having worked with many workplace wellness professionals over the years, I can attest that the community sincerely wants all employees to lead better lives and thereby achieve greater wellbeing. But not every employee may be on board with the idea. Some are skeptical…
The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC helps a lot of start-ups. The founders of these newly formed businesses often have methods or devices that they have invented, or logos, slogans or business names that are unique. Should they protect those inventions, logos, slogans or names? The short answer is yes. But the long answer requires diving into whether the wellness professional is willing to invest their resources in obtaining such protection. It can be a long, expensive, and grueling process, particularly for patents, and particularly if you go it alone. Here are some examples of intellectual property wellness…
The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC has many clients who wish to incorporate functional medicine into their practice. These clients may be physicians, chiropractors, nurses, and even health coaches. What is “functional medicine?” According to the Institute for Functional Medicine: Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness. Thus, wellness professionals who want to incorporate functional medicine principles into their wellness practice will inevitably be diagnosing conditions and looking to address the…
The term “medical spa” generally refers to a facility or business that offers “traditional, complementary, and alternative health practices and treatments in a spa-like setting.”[1] A medical spa may offer a hybrid or combination of medical and cosmetic procedures. Medical spa businesses, though not always identified as “medical spas” specifically, have been around since the 1990s. But the market for medical spa (or medi-spa) services is on the rise. As of 2018, more than 5,000 identified medical spas were operating in the U.S.[2] According to a 2018 report, the global medical spa market is projected to reach $27…