How is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or integrative health care regulated? Who protects the public against dangerous or fraudulent practitioners? What laws govern provision of such therapies as massage therapy, chiropractic, baturopathic medicine (naturopathy), homeopathic medicine (homeopathy), herbal medicine, and acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine?
On the other hand, who or what ensures that patients have access to a range of desired therapies without becoming ensnared in abusive practices?
Laws governing (and attempting to control) potential abuse of authority by health care professionals are extensive. There are at least five categories: (1) medical licensure; (2) scope of practice; (3) professional discipline; (4) malpractice; and (5) fraud. One can add to this list concerns such as (6) insurance/third-party reimbursement, and more specific health care law topics such as (7) fraud and abuse and anti-kickback rules.
I’ve chosen to organize the Topics on this blog according to some of these headers; these different areas, however, tend to intersect, which is why I have the disclaimer about the blog not offering legal advice, and encouraging readers to hire an attorney for specific legal problems. For those who want to read more detail about each area and how it operates, the postings on this blog should be helpful; in addition, try the books, the most updated and practical of which is Legal Issues in Alternative Medicine, while the first scholarly version is Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. A good reference but tailored to the intersection of medicine and religion is my article in the Journal of Law & Religion entitled Healing at the borderland of medicine and religion: regulating potential abuse of authority by spiritual healers.
On specific policy questions, one can always comment on the blog; or for specific legal situations, contact me for a consultation.