Can practitioners legally offer Ayurveda to patients?
It depends. If they are non-licensed there would have to be an exception in the law allowing non-licensed individuals to offer health care services. If they are licensed, Ayurveda would have to be within their legally authorized scope of practice. If they are an MD or DO, there is some leeway but the Ayurvedic services would be regarded as medical and raise standard of care issues.
Here is some advice to a yoga therapy center:
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}
o In the absence of specific law, the default mode,is that a practitioner could be considered to be engaged in unlicensed practice of medicine (or of another profession), and other clinicians of “aiding and abetting” unlicensed practice. I doubt we will get further guidance from the Board, unless a specific disciplinary case has arisen.
o Certain techniques within Ayurveda, such as pulse diagnosis and herbal recommendations, raise particular concern as they could most easily be viewed as “diagnosing,” “treating,” “prescribing,” or otherwise crossing the line into unlicensed medical practice.
o In an effort to salvage some of the Ayurvedic training, you may be able to separate out therapeutic techniques within Ayurvedic practice that are more medical (and thus raise issues of unlicensed medical practice—and would therefore be contraindicated at the Center), from those that are more akin to spa treatments and massage therapy techniques. However, the spa treatments could potentially cross into the field of cosmetology (which may have licensure requirements), and the massage treatments may require a practitioner permit (or establishment license) locally. This would require further research.
This Center also asked about the practice of psychotherapy by nonlicensed healers. We concluded that such individuals could be considered to be engaged in unlicensed practice of psychotherapy.
The only other concern is if yoga therapists at the Center move into health advice that could be considered by a board to cross the line into unlicensed medical practice or unlicensed practice of psychology. It will be important to have clear boundaries articulated as to the limits of yoga practitioners’ expertise and advice. Such boundaries can be established either informally (i.e., through conversations and weekly meetings), or more formally through a written Center policy or even more formally, by setting forth limitations contractually.
Practice of Ayurveda does raise issues of unlicensed practice. Some Ayurvedic practices fall within the rubric of massage, while others (i.e., pulse diagnosis) clearly raise legal red flags. The same goes for sale of herbs which could be viewed as “prescribing medicine” or even possibly intrusion into unlicensed practice of acupuncture. To the extent practice involves mental health counseling, this could also raise issues about unauthorized practice of psychology; and, not to wander too far afield, techniques involving oil could potentially be viewed as unlicensed practice of cosmetology. At a minimum, we recommend that practices involving Ayurveda be explicitly limited in the Center-Practitioner contract.
Our legal advice includes both federal and state law, and we advise clients on how to minimize their legal exposure. "Don’t roll the dice, get legal advice!"
Healthcare & FDA attorney Michael H. Cohen is a thought leader in healthcare law & FDA law, pioneering legal strategies in healthcare. wellness, and lifestyle markets. As a corporate and transactional lawyer, FDA regulatory attorney who also handles healthcare litigation, healthcare mediation and healthcare arbitration, and international healthcare & wellness law speaker, Los Angeles / Bay Area healthcare & FDA lawyer Michael H. Cohen represents conscious business leaders in a transformational era. Clients seek healthcare & FDA attorney Michael H. Cohen‘s legal savvy on all aspects of business law, healthcare law, and FDA law, including:
- business structure and entity formation (corporations, partnerships, LLCs)
- health care facility licensing issues (home health agency, hospice, imaging center)
- practitioner licensing matters;
- physician and allied & complementary medicine provider employment contracts and independent contractor agreements
- e-commerce (including online health education and mobile medical apps) legal
- copyright & trademark, licensing
- informed consent and liability risk management
- HIPAA and confidentiality and privacy issues
- Stark, self-referral, anti-kickback, patient brokering, and fee-splitting questions
- cosmetics claims, labeling
- OTC drug & homeopathics FDA legal review
- medical device FDA legal issues
- dietary supplement claims and labeling
- insurance reimbursement and Medicare issues for healthcare practitioners
- concierge medicine legal issues
- telemedicine legal, m-health, and digital health law
- business law and health care regulatory compliance arenas
- healthcare meditation and healthcare arbitration.
Whether advising start-ups or established companies, Los Angeles / San Francisco / Bay Area healthcare & FDA attorney Michael H. Cohen brings his entrepreneurial spirit and caring insight to cutting-edge legal and regulatory challenges. The Michael H. Cohen Law Group counsels healthcare practices, entities, and companies, such as clinical laboratories, physicians, psychologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, nurses, healers, medical spas, sleep centers, addiction treatment centers, surgery centers, anti-aging centers, integrative medicine clinics, anti-aging practices, mental and behavioral health counselors, medical service organizations, telemedicine and mobile (m-health) companies, online health ventures, stem cell and cord blood entities; and other health and wellness enterprises. Healthcare and FDA lawyer Michael H. Cohen is admitted to practice in California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C. Our clientele is national and international, and we also counsel healthcare and FDA clients in Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Bernadino, Alameda, Contra Costa County, and other California cities and counties. Contact our Los Angeles, Ventura County, & San Francisco Bay Area FDA & healthcare attorneys today if you need a telemedicine lawyer, concierge medicine lawyer, HIPAA lawyer, FDA lawyer or FDA regulatory consultant (dietary supplements, medical devices, cosmetics, OTC drugs), advertising compliance lawyer, healthcare mediator or arbitrator, concierge medicine attorney, management services organization attorney, or other specialized healthcare legal advice or FDA regulatory consulting.