The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC Blogs

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

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

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?

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?

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?

As predicted by our law firm, more employees are starting to oppose workplace wellness programs as a result of the AARP v. EEOC lawsuit from 2016. The latest lawsuit involves employees of the City of Chicago in Williams, et. al v. City of Chicago, 20-cv-420 (N.D. Ill. 2020). City of Chicago employees, who are unionized, sued the City as their employer, as well as their union, for forcing them to participate in a workplace wellness program that includes
Continue Reading Workplace Wellness Programs be Warned: Another Employee Wellness Program Lawsuit Emerges

The short answer is “yes.” But the real question that coaches should ask is “How big is the risk?” According to some research[1] by our law firm of 31 state laws on the unlicensed practice of medicine, conducted from January through May 2022, the vast majority of the surveyed states had not taken any action on such unlicensed practice. Our research included determining whether any cases against unlicensed persons were documented and asking a medical board representative whether
Continue Reading Can Health and Wellness Coaches Get Sued?

With all the mass shootings as of late, wellness professionals like health coaches, wellness coaches, functional medicine providers, integrative health specialists and holistic healthcare providers may be itching to help wellness program participants feel more safe and secure. After all, what is wellness without a sense of safety? Studies have shown that households with firearms are at an increased risk of experiencing a homicide, suicide, or accidental firearm death of a household member.

With increased concerns about stress in
Continue Reading Can Wellness Professionals Ask Clients about Gun Use and Ownership?

A recent article criticized the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs. It noted that although 88% of large employers (defined as employers with 200 or more workers) that offered health benefits also offered some type of workplace wellness program. That is a high percentage of employers that offer worksite wellness programs to their employees.

The article cited a 2021 randomized control study by Katherine Baicker and Zirui Song in which the researchers randomly assigned some worksites of a national company
Continue Reading Are Workplace Wellness Programs Required for Employers?

I recently heard this phrase and wondered what is meant by “HIPAA permissions?” HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act, creates both obligations and rights for “covered entities.” I think what people are talking about when they say, “HIPAA permissions” are the several rights that HIPAA conveys on covered entities to use and disclose “Protected Health Information” (PHI) without having to obtain a signed authorization from the patient or insurance enrollee.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule Fundamentals
Continue Reading What Are HIPAA Permissions and How Many HIPAA Defined Permissions Exist?