Integrative medicine is here for good, says Hospital Stay, and it’s embedded into the Affordable Health Act.

Hospital Stay is a blog which informs readers about … well, what happens during a hospital stay.  Its editors, including CEO of a major hospital, opine that CAM is here for good:

Offered in almost 40 percent of hospitals (up from 26.5 percent in 2005, and 8 percent in 1998), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes yoga, acupuncture, meditation, as well as other options typically considered outside of traditional Western medicine.  In a hospital setting, CAM increasingly appeals to patients for general wellness options, preventative measures, or when conventional choices fall short. Not surprising, preventative care and wellness programs exist at the core of PPACA, even though these particular sections in the 2,700-page law often escape the media’s spotlight.

Western medicine is associated with the most advanced, research-based treatments, surgeries, and drugs used by medical doctors and their colleagues. CAM treatments may date back thousands of years to ancient Greece or China and include in part acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic treatments, hydrotherapy, and art therapy.  Historical precedence, however, may not be the biggest concern for hospital patients, especially since the existence of stress, anxiety, and overall fear — an inescapable dynamic inherent in practically all hospital stays — predates both new and old medicine.

With so many therapies falling under the umbrella of complementary and alternative, there are a myriad of different ways that hospitals and medical centers might integrate CAM into their establishments. While hospitals typically focus on the more established CAM therapies like massage, relaxation training, and nutritional therapy, even these treatments typically vary.

In addition to body-based therapies such as acupuncture, some CAM programs offer treatments in stress management, hypnosis, and resilience training. Studies show this approach helps patients develop positive coping strategies. Other facilities include CAM treatments in wellness areas, including environment, relationships, personal growth, and spirituality, as well as nutrition and exercise.

Some of these treatments are truly “holistic” systems, incorporating acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, dietary, and lifestyle treatments in some instances, and yoga, diet, massage, and meditation in others. At the same time, complementary treatments are not always holistic, and this term may be little more than a lure for patients seeking “whole-person” care.

Some of the most common conditions treated with complementary and alternative medicine at hospitals include chronic pain, cancer, preparation for surgery and/or recovery, women’s health, and anxiety and depression. However, patients seek CAM treatments for any number of conditions, including chronic fatigue, sinusitis, addiction, gastrointestinal conditions, sports injuries, or as a preventative measure.

As with CAM-treated ailments, CAM treatments are far ranging. They vary in cultural origin, philosophy, and history—some may be thousands of years old, others only decades. They may include anything from homeopathy to pet therapy (an increasingly popular inpatient service, sometimes referred to as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)).

The article was posted initially on a PBS website.

From dietary supplements to pet therapy, complementary, alternative and integrative medicine is pervading hospitals and physician practices.

Legal issues surrounding integrative medicine though remain murky.  Whether you are an unlicensed practitioner such as a homeopath, energy healer, hypnotherapist, lay naturopath or naturopath in a state that does not license naturopathic physicians, astrologer, clairvoyant medical intuitive, or a licensed allied health provider such as a registered nurse, clinical psychologist, biological dentist, or a DO or MD practicing integrative therapies such as chelation therapy, hormonal-based therapies, functional medicine, telemedicine, or nutritional and lifestyle advice, the laws relating to standard of care, professional discipline, FDA regulation of drugs, dietary supplements and medical devices, and other areas of law will affect you.

It’s important to consult with an attorney familiar with the laws regarding CAM therapies and integrative medical practice in your state.

Licensing, fee-splitting, fraud and abuse, insurance questions (such as properly billing and coding and navigating the complexities of handling Medicare patients), unlicensed medical practice, scope of practice, and other areas require legal guidance.  Many health care entities and practitioners unwittingly run afoul of many areas of law because they fail to consult a health care and business law attorney ahead of time.

Contact one of our experienced attorneys to gain insight into your legal questions regarding alternative medicine practice.  Whether you are an acupuncturist, chiropractor, nurse practitioner, social worker, physician, or simply an entrepreneur who is offering products in the holistic health arena, we can help guide you as to the laws in California, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and other states so you can legally protect yourself when you operate your health care or wellness facility.


If you have legal questions concerning telemedicine and telehealth practices, HIPAA legal issues, health care reform questions, or other health law matters in New York, California, Massachusetts, Washington DC, and other states, contact a lawyer who knows the rules.

Consult an experienced health care law attorney who knows complementary medicine and integrative medicine for legal advice pertaining to any project involving allied health or CAM professionals.


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:

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.

Michael H. Cohen Law Group logo