Protecting Your Practice
Peace of mind for you, confidence for your clients.
These fundamental practices will not only help you sleep better at night, knowing you’ve got the legal T’s crossed, they also help you build your reputation as a professional with integrity and create trusting bonds with your clients. Some of the things I’m going to share are legal requirements. The others are the best practices that create a partnership that honors you and your clients.
First, regardless of whether you are a state licensed profession or a legal but not licensed profession, it is best practice to organize your business in a manner that complies with relevant state and federal health care laws. The goal of the items covered in this section is to provide your clients with information so they can make an informed decision to work with you and be clear on what your services entail and can expect as well as how their information will be stored and protected.
By sharing the information about your background and training, services, and client and practitioner responsibilities is one of the first communication stages is creating the trust necessary for a long lasting and positive professional relationship. You will share this information in a variety of ways and places.
Waiver of Liability
A Waiver of Liability is legal verbiage that a person who participates in an activity may sign to acknowledge the risks involved in his or her participation. By doing so, the company attempts to remove legal liability from the business or person responsible for the activity.
Example of Phrasing:
I understand that _______________ is a Wellness Coach (or Nutritional Counselor or Life Coach, etc) and is NOT a licensed MD or Physician in the State of _________. Health Coaching is a holistic complement to western medicine. It is not a substitute for a medical diagnosis or the services of a physician or other licensed health care provider. ______________ will not advise that anyone discontinue a course of care or prescription drug that was prescribed by a licensed health care professional. I hold harmless and without recourse ______________ as a Wellness Coach and ______________ as business. I choose to implement the recommendations from this program.
Informed consent is the process by which a client learns about and understands the purpose, benefits and potential risks of a recommendations and then agrees to receive the recommendation and implement the practice.
Example of Phrasing:
The goal of Ayurvedic Counseling is to create an optimum environment for healing to take place within the body & mind and to maximize the body’s ability to heal. Ayurvedic Recommendations are designed to aid digestive capacity, promote health and help attain a healthy weight – through diet (foods/spices), exercise, stress reduction techniques, yoga asana, lifestyle recommendations and herbal remedies ~ based on your unique physical Ayurvedic constitution and doshic imbalances. Risks associated with the Ayurvedic Recommendations by ____________ may be, and not limited to, unknown food allergies or temporary digestive changes.
A Disclosure is the act of making something known.
Example of Phrasing:
I acknowledge that _____________ Abundant You Coaching is not a Medical Facility. I understand that _______________ is a Health and Life Coach and is NOT a licensed MD or Physician in the State of _________.
A Disclaimer is a formal statement saying that you are not legally responsible for something.
Example of Phrasing:
Recommendations are designed to aid digestive capacity, promote health and help attain a healthy weight through diet (foods/spices), exercise, stress reduction techniques, lifestyle recommendations, bodily cleansing and nutritional supplements. Health coaching is a holistic complement to western medicine. It is not a substitute for a medical diagnosis or the services of a physician or other licensed health care provider. ______________ will not advise that anyone discontinue a course of care or prescription drug that was prescribed by a licensed health care professional.
to make proper discolsures and assure protection of privacy
- Identify which services you perform and what is outside the scope of your practice including relevant medical disclaimer language
- Licenses or legal standing you hold
- Client’s rights and obligations including fee structure
- Confidentiality and cancellation/late arrival
- HIPPA – unless electronically submitting not required
- Use client intake forms – depending on your business, some or all of these might be relevant
- Identify the services you perform and relevant services you do not perform.
- Identify the licenses you hold and the relevant licenses you do not hold.
- Disclose the legal structure under which you operate.
- Identify the client’s rights and obligations.
- Describe your fee structure.
- Explain your health information policy.
- Include a health information and history form.
- Include medical disclaimer language.
- Include additional office policies such as appointment cancellation, confidentiality, etc.
- Use a Client Referral Form when: REFERRAL TEMPLATES
Client describes and is concerned about a condition that has not been evaluated by a LHCP
Client presents with symptoms that potentially point to a serious, life threatening condition – RED FLAGS:
- Abnormal bleeding from any orifice including the nose, ears, mouth, rectum, urethra, or vagina
- Rapid unplanned weight loss of more than five pounds in less than a month
- Unplanned weight loss of more than ten pounds over a period of time
- Recent loss of consciousness or seizures
- Severe pain anywhere in the body including the abdomen or the pelvis
- Significant weakness in any muscles
- Incoherent speech
- Inability to make logical rational sense
- Chest pain in a person above age 40
Condition or behavior feels outside your scope of knowledge or comfort
- The client was previously diagnosed with a medical condition
- The client has indicated a medical condition may exist
- The practitioner has concerns that a medical condition may exist
Ethics and Professional Code of Conduct
Most professions have explicit and implicit guidelines for behavior which might be defined as professional ethics or professional code of conduct.
- Ethics are typically seen as broad moral standards
- Code of conduct is a more specific set of rules or regulations that are expected to be followed.
- There can be overlap between the two areas.
In many cases, one’s licensure or membership to a professional organization can be impacted if ethical standards are violated or “unprofessional conduct” is determined.
Foundational Ethical Practices:
- Do No Harm
- Strive to create an environment of harmony & respect for self and with clients
- Maintain the highest standards of professional and personal conduct
- Be aware of and abide by all federal, state and local laws
- Practice the healing power of natural modalities and sciences
- Provide a comfortable and safe atmosphere
- Act with honesty, offering the best services, products & information possible
- Continue learning and sharing Ayurveda, offering the highest quality of care
- Respect clients’ religious beliefs
- Do not discriminate against those who have different beliefs or opinions
- Do not participate in unethical procedures
- Consult or seek skills of other health care professionals as needed (get proper permission from client)
- Use appropriate boundaries, including avoiding sexual relationships or any behavior that could be considered inappropriate
Code of Conduct
Specifically, as a professional it is expected you will conduct your behavior with…
- Implement confidentiality in record-keeping, conversations and working with clients (HIPPA).
- Implement confidentiality within the procedure or systems you establish (including email, EMRs, working with 3rd party vendors)
- Be mindful of how you conduct yourself in public, knowing that the personal and professional are interconnected. (This includes public social media posts).