CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Health freedom legislation proposed for Iowan CAM health care practitioners

Health freedom legislation has been proposed for Iowan CAM health care practitioners.

The Iowa Health Freedom Act provisions stipulate that the legislation:

- Would provide more freedom to those practicing alternative forms of medicine, such as the healing arts

- Would require practitioners to present type of health treatments available

- Would require practitioners to disclose past education and specialty in the area of health offered

- Does not apply to providers using any form of invasive treatments, X-ray radiation, or those administering drugs which require the prescription of a licensed health-care provider.

This sounds similar to legislation already in place in California, Rhode Island, and Minnesota (the so-called "Minnesota model" of health care freedom legislation, discussed in Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion -- to be distiguished from statutes legislating freedom from physician discipline merely for offering patients alternative therapies).

Iowa City resident Karen Fox has practiced reiki - a Japanese stress-reduction technique - for eight years, and she opened a Coralville clinic in July 2006. Even though she's certified, she can't get a state-issued license for her alternative-medicine practice, leaving her unprotected from lawsuits and other potential penalties.

But a pending bill in the state Legislature could shield Fox and others without licenses who practice various types of alternative medicine.

"People are clearly turning to alternative health care," said Fox, who is the master teacher at the Spiral of Light Energy Alignment, 107 Fifth St. "It would be great to help people get access to what they want."

The Iowa Health Freedom Act would protect currently unlicensed alternative-medicine practitioners. Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, one of the bill's sponsors, said it would protect everything from spiritual to acupressure healing, which involves applying pressure to acupuncture points on the body.

Critics say the bill does not adequately protect the public, because it does not set the high threshold of education and training typically required by licensure of CAM providers.

Further: 'The bill does state that nonlicensed health-care providers would be required to state their type of health care and treatment, prior schooling or experience, and that they do not have licenses.'

Disclosure is an important element of the Minnesota model, and should not be overlooked.

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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holism - April 22, 2007 5:58 PM
Alternative health care products are more main stream than ever before in the history of medicine and threatened more than ever before. According to a news article published by Mike Adams on April 11, 2007 at, here’s the full link to t...
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