The Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC Blogs

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

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?

To attract and help the right clients, health and wellness coaches need to have a robust website that fully describes their services and products, and what sets them apart from other health coaches who provide wellness-related services and products. A typical website may list the different services, such as one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and educational or speaking services. The website may also describe the wellness coach’s philosophy to their practice, and whether it is based in nutrition, physical exercise,
Continue Reading What can a Health Coach Say on a Website Without Getting Into Legal Trouble?

Now that Spring is here, many of us who operate businesses may be turning our attention to hiring summer interns. Organizations may hire interns or student trainees year round as well. Regardless of when you take on interns or student trainees, you should be aware of a common legal pitfall in hiring such individuals. That common legal pitfall is whether the intern or trainee must be paid for their services. There are several legal sources to help answer that
Continue Reading Must Employers Pay Student Interns?

A lot of wellness providers, functional medicine providers, chiropractors, health coaches and medical spa entrepreneurs wonder if they can or should hire a physician or nurse practitioner to help expand their services. Physicians and nurse practitioners, and sometimes depending on the state, physician assistants, have a broader scope of practice than most other types of licensed and unlicensed practitioners in the health and wellness space. So, a common question we receive at the Center for Health and Wellness Law,
Continue Reading Can you Hire Physicians for your Medical Spa or Wellness Practice?

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the mental wellbeing of many workers. Coupled with the tight job market, recruitment and retention of employees is a huge challenge for employers. Many employers may want to focus more heavily on the mental wellness of their employees, and for good reason. According to one survey of employees since the pandemic, over 40% feel hopeless, burned out or exhausted. That’s about the same percentage of U.S. adults
Continue Reading Using Mental Health Parity Law as a Tool to Design More Holistic Workplace Wellness Programs