CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Revolution Health poised to change health care, CAM

Revolution Health, launched by Steve Case & co., may change health care generally and the way companies incorporate alternative health care modalities.

Revolution Health is poised to make a huge impact on the health care market, bringing consumer-driven healthcare to your laptop, ipod, nano-earring, whatever is invented next to bring information to your body.

Revolution Health's package of health care services is said to be including:

AAA-style service to help members with insurance billing problems and other issues, and it plans to expand a chain of health clinics in retail outlets.

It's tried to accomplish all this with a remarkably fast ramp-up. In one year, Revolution Health has gone from 60 employees to nearly 300....

Case has so far invested $100 million in Revolution Health, part of the $500 million he said he plans to put into an eclectic array of businesses. The other ventures include a car-sharing service, a luxury resort in Arizona and a distributor of yoga videos. Of all these ventures, however, Revolution Health has the loftiest mission -- to make health care more consumer-friendly.

Brad Jacobs, MD, a physician and former clinical researcher at the Osher Center for Integrative Health, at University of California at San Francisco, now serves as Revolution Health's senior medical director. Dr. Jacobs has extensive experience in CAM research and delivery of CAM clinical services in an integrative clinical care model that included acupuncture and mind-body services.

Revolution Health also will offer a Web portal to compete with WebMD among others:

The site launched with in-depth surveys to determine risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, as well as lighter online tools, such as a calculator for what it would take to burn one pound.

Consumer choice and control are part of the stated vision, marketing, and philosophy. Informed consumer choice and autonomy are also driving ethical values behind complementary and aternative medicine and holistic health care.

My guess is that the Web portal for Health Revolution will walk the fine line between health education and public health advocacy, which is allowable, and online diagnosis and treatment of disease, which raises legal issues, such as the prohibition against unlicensed practice of medicine as well as restrictions on corporate practice of medicine. WebMD seems to do this dance rather well, offering what seems like personalized advice, tailored to the user, but does not actually get caught within the broad sweep of legal definitions of "diagnosis."

Many clinicians are calling with questions about how to set up a practice that includes CAM modalities; what are the legal risks of doing energy work; whether they face additional legal exposure by including sales of dietary supplements in their practice, or even recommending vitamins, minerals, and herbs; and whether certain new tools are within their existing licensure and scope of practice. Our law practice does deal with these practice conerns. These are issues Revolution certainly will have to address as it branches out into the CAM field and develops a business model that extends the wellness concept deep into the heath care field.

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Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.
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