CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Regulation of CAM on NCCAM website

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has this snippet on regulation on its website.

It is a summary of a talk I gave in London in 2001:
Regulation and Certification in the United States Michael Cohen, Esq., lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, spoke on regulation and certification in the U.S. from a legal perspective.

In contrast with the U.K., every state in the U.S. has its own licensing scheme, different laws, regulations, and courts and judicial documents that interpret these rules. "Who is authorized to practice which specialty" is determined by state. Further, the system is often "patchwork" from town to town and county to county. Mr. Cohen explained the four levels of the U.S. model: (1) mandatory licensure, the most common; (2) title licensure: needing a license to claim a particular title such as "massage therapist"; (3) registration, with the designated state agency; and (4) exemption from licensure requirements. A hypothetical example of number 4, exemption, would be a religious healer who is allowed to practice only under the tenets of a recognized church and only by using prayer, not prescribing medications.

He discussed boundary issues that arise between the professions; e.g., a healer who crosses the line of his own scope of practice can be prosecuted for unlicensed medical practice. The outcome of these situations depend on each state's own interpretation.
The talk was sponsored by NCCAM and the Royal College of Physicians in London, and entitled: Report: "Can Alternative Medicine Be Integrated into Mainstream Care?"
The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, a nonprofit organization exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, 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).
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Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.
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