Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry; in response, one university offers a BA in complementary and alternative medicine.

Concierge medicine flourishes despite legal concerns:

The concierge concept, sometimes called boutique medicine, has been around for a few years. It’s predominantly been in big cities, although about 10 years ago a Spencerport family doctor had a concierge practice. According to Concierge Medicine Research Collective, there are approximately 2,300 verified concierge doctors out of 67,000 general internists in the nation.

A spokeswoman for Concierge Medicine Today said there were 22 concierge doctors in the state. A physician in Syracuse recently started a practice.

Any concerns aren’t with the preventive aspect of the practices, which observers said can have measurable benefits.

Questions have been raised about whether doctors can charge a fee for services that they should be providing, such as round-the-clock access to the practice.

According to the Medical Society of the State of New York, in 2004, the state Department of Health warned that a fee for concierge services could raise legal concerns because charges were being levied for what should be covered under a comprehensive services plan. A spokesman for the DOH said a current opinion has not been issued.

The medical society also reported that in 2000, the state Insurance Department said that physicians could run afoul of regulations if they charged a flat monthly fee in exchange for prepaid services. The department was unable to comment.

Nancy Adams, executive director of the Monroe County Medical Society, said the fees for enhanced services can be a gray area. She said doctors are supposed to be accessible by being on call or arranging coverage, and are supposed to be spending appropriate time with patients who have acute or chronic conditions.

"Physicians, make sure you’re reading the contract and not violating any terms," she urged.

Top medical schools have integrative medicine centers:

This willingness to incorporate complementary and alternative medicine into a traditional medical structure seems to be common in those medical centers that have achieved national and international prominence. Many of these medical centers are part of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. If you were to take the top 75 medical centers in the country, 47 of these would be the members of the consortium. Three are located in Chicago: Northwestern University, University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

These top medical centers were leaders in their field long before integrating nontraditional medicine and having this area of medicine does not necessarily make them exceptional. However, it does show a certain level of open-mindedness and willingness to think outside of the box. It may also reflect a sincere appreciation for the beliefs of their patients (many Americans use some form of nontraditional medicine and believe that it works). In addition, during the past decade, medical research has shown that select nontraditional therapies can be effective (like acupuncture and massage) and that in combination with traditional medicine results in better outcomes.

UA adds an integrative medicine track:

The track will focus on integrative medicine – healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (mind, body and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. IM emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of appropriate therapies, both complementary and alternative, seamlessly blending conventional medical training with other modalities for disease prevention and to better trigger the body’s innate healing response.

"Preventive medicine is a crucial part of a medical professionals’ training and is often minimalized in conventional medical training," said Dr. Andrew Weil, center founder and director. "Receiving this additional training early in their career will give UA College of Medicine students an advantage in their residency and practice and a more comprehensive set of skills for treating and communicating with their patients."

Enrollment in the IM Distinction Track will be open to first- and second-year medical students at the UA College of Medicine-Tucson beginning with the fall 2011 semester.

It will require participation in the center’s month-long integrative medicine elective rotation, attendance at grand rounds presentations and patient conferences, monthly special-topics lectures, facilitation of a "healer’s art" course, completion of more than 30 hours of online courses, a capstone paper suitable for publication and an oral exam.

Ashford University offers a new bachelor’s degree in CAM:

Ashford University has recently introduced several new online healthcare degrees to position its students to compete for high-demand healthcare jobs created by the aging population.  The degrees are Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health, Bachelor of Arts in Health Informatics, Bachelor of Arts in Health and Wellness, and Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology.  

"Aging Baby Boomers are going to cause a demographic earthquake that shakes the foundation of our health care system to its core and the workforce needs to be prepared," said Alice Vestergaard, Ed.D., executive dean of the College of Health, Human Services, and Science at Ashford University.  "There are nearly 78 million Baby Boomers between the ages of 47 and 65 years old in America and they comprise 29 percent of the total population.  They are entering a time of critical healthcare needs including age-related disease such as osteoarthritis accompanied by societal trends like obesity, of which 39 percent are afflicted."

Ashford introduced the degrees after years of analysis and careful planning.  The goal: to provide students with degrees that may be unmatched among educational institutions, either traditional or online, in their depth, breadth and relevance to future healthcare needs.  The curriculum includes programs addressing the technological revolution toward electronic health records and wireless healthcare.

"Americans are living longer and rather than thinking about putting them into the equivalent of assisted living warehouses, we need to create a workforce that is attuned to the new positive aging movement," said Vestergaard.  "Envision skilled caregivers who can meet future human needs for aging in place, such as an existing residence, rather than in an institution.  This is essential if the system is to deal with the millions of Baby Boomers who will soon suffer from Alzheimer’s disease."

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that one out of every eight Baby Boomers will get Alzheimer’s disease after turning 65 years old; at age 85, that risk grows to one in two. With the 65 and over population in the United States expected to double by 2030, there may be up to 16 million people with Alzheimer’s disease by 2050 with almost 1 million new Alzheimer’s disease cases diagnosed each year.  For the general population in the United States, 4 percent of people move to a nursing home by age 80; with Alzheimer’s disease, that number rises to 75 percent.  This means an increased need for long term care specialties.  

Vestergaard said new models of care will be aimed more at healthy aging, which includes purposeful living, social engagement, physical, spiritual, and psychological aspects of longevity rather than just treatments.  The job opportunities will be significant.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry.  Ten of the twenty fastest growing occupations are related to healthcare. Many job openings should arise in all healthcare settings as a result of employment growth and the need to replace workers who retire or leave their jobs for other reasons.

"Ashford University hopes to blaze new trails in meeting future needs with our healthcare degrees," said Vestergaard.  "The new curriculum addresses not only trends we see in the actuarial tables, but also those in medicine, such as demand for non-traditional medicine, hence our Complementary and Alternative Health degree."  

The degrees and their highlights are:

Complementary and Alternative Health – Developed in response to the growing public interest in holistic, homeopathic and spiritual healthcare, with training in unconventional medicine.

Health Informatics – Specifically designed to meet mandated needs for the modernization of medical records with electronic health data management. New careers are emerging in managing digital media and information in the practice of medicine. As prescribed by the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, healthcare companies are required to adopt electronic record-keeping systems by 2014.

Health and Wellness – Prevention and healthy aging are becoming more important with the aging population.  This degree will prepare graduates for jobs in the wellness industry, such as gym instructor, trainer, health coach or YMCA teacher and will deliver a thorough understanding of the healthcare industry and explain the core functionalities of promoting healthy living as a business.

Gerontology – This degree provides a foundation of the biological, psychological, social, spiritual, and developmental aspects of aging and longevity. Graduates with a Gerontology degree will succeed in fields such as aging wellness coordinator, senior placement specialist, activities coordinator and senior advocate.  This multidisciplinary perspective encourages students to explore the needs of the growing population of senior citizens and their impact on society.

For more information:

About Dr. Alice Vestergaard

Alice Vestergaard, Executive Dean of the College of Health, Human Services, and Science. In her position as Executive Dean, Dr. Vestergaard is responsible for academic and curricular policies and programs, as well as the coordination of campus faculty, deans and chairpersons. Dr. Vestergaard has specialized in long-term care, emerging health technology, and the study of brain-health in aging. She has more than 25 years experience in both the private and public education sectors and has lectured extensively on her fields of expertise.  She has served as lead faculty, faculty trainer, and curriculum developer within diverse multi-cultural settings.

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.

Contact: Shari Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Public Relations
858.513.9240 x2513 |



Michael H. Cohen


Michael H. Cohen is a thought leader in health care law, pioneering legal strategies and solutions for business law clients in traditional and emerging healthcare. wellness, and lifestyle markets.  Mr. Cohen represents a broad range of healthcare providers and entities, including: medical and osteopathic doctors; physician groups and clinical facilities; integrative medicine centers; psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, registered and advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, dentists and other allied health professionals; complementary and alternative medicine practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, somatic bodyworkers, energy healers, hypnotherapists and medical intuitives, naturopathic physicians and practitioners of homeopathy; life coaches; dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors; cosmetics manufacturers; HCG and weight loss centers; medical device manufacturers; telemedicine and telehealth business; healthcare educational institutions, health insurance organizations, and medical spas;  and many other enterprises.

As a corporate and regulatory attorney who has also handled litigation matters, Mr. Cohen represents conscious business leaders in a transformational era. Clients seek Mr. Cohen’s specialized expertise on business structure and entity formation (corporations, partnerships, LLCs); credentialing, licensing, and scope of practice concerns; professional disciplinary matters before state medical, psychology, chiropractic, and other boards); employment contracts and independent contractor agreements; dispute resolution; e-commerce; intellectual property issues; informed consent and malpractice liability issues; HIPAA and confidentiality and privacy issues; Stark, self-referral, anti-kickback, patient brokering, and fee-splitting questions; dietary supplement labeling; medical device approval and other FDA matters; insurance reimbursement and Medicare issues; website disclaimers and review of marketing materials; advice on concierge medicine and retail boutique medicine; telemedicine, telepsychiatry and telehealth; and other legal and regulatory advice in the business law and health law arenas.  Mr. Cohen is also highly sought after for special legal counsel by other attorneys and law firms in the areas of complementary/integrative medicine, aesthetic and cosmetic medicine, medical board discipline, medical spa liability, and medical malpractice liability malpractice  (negligence) involving CAM practices or telemedicine.

Mr. Cohen graduated from Columbia University (BA), Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley (JD); the Haas School of Management at the University of California, Berkeley (MBA); and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa (MFA).  In law school, he served as an editor of the California Law Review.  He also attended the Medical Institute for Law Faculty at the Cleveland Clinic. Following law school, he served as judicial clerk for the Honorable Thomas P. Griesa, United States District Judge in the federal Southern District of New York. Mr. Cohen was an associate in the Corporate Department at the Wall Street law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, focusing on banking, securities law, and mergers & acquisitions. He was on the faculty of several law schools, teaching civil procedure, conflicts of laws, constitutional law, criminal law, health law, and insurance law.  He served as Director of Legal Programs at the Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), and then the Harvard Medical School Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies and Harvard Medical School Osher Institute. He was also Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, with a joint appointment as Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. While at Harvard, Mr. Cohen was Principal Investigator on two grants, Legal and Social Barriers to Alternative Therapies (National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health) and Pediatric Use of Complementary Therapies by Parents: Ethical and Policy Choices (Greenwall Foundation), and Co-Investigator on several other funded projects, including Models of Integrative Care in an Academic Health Center. Among his activities, Mr. Cohen pioneered the course, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Health Law and Policy” at the Harvard School of Public Health. He also was awarded a Fortieth Anniversary Senior Fellowship at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School.

Mr. Cohen has published over 100 articles, and books, including: Creative Writing for Lawyers (Citadel Press, 1990); Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (University of Michigan Press, 2000); Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health and Healing in Human Transformation (University of Michigan Press, 2003); Legal Issues in Integrative Medicine (NAF Press, 2005); and Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).

Following a successful academic career, Mr. Cohen returned to the practice of law. In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Cohen received certification as a Registered Yoga Teacher. Whether advising start-ups or established companies, he brings his entrepreneurial spirit and caring insight to cutting-edge legal and regulatory challenges.

Mr. Cohen is admitted to practice in California, Massachusetts New York, and Washington, D.C.  To speak with an experienced business and health care law attorney about your legal concerns, contact our attorneys today.