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8 hours $7.98
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20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Legal Issues in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2.5 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe major legal issues facing biomedical providers and integrative health providers, state laws relating to the regulation, credentialing concerns, malpractice and liability issues, and third-party reimbursement.
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Patient use and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in the United States is increasing. However, many legal issues remain unresolved surrounding provider oversight, inconsistent legislative mandates regarding definitions about standards of care and scope of practice, liability issues for providers and organizations, and lack of knowledge about CAM therapies.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe state law issues relating to the regulation of medical and CAM providers.
  • Describe key elements of the credentialing process for physicians and CAM providers.
  • Describe liability issues for health care organizations.
  • Explain the relationship between CAM therapies and health literacy, health freedom, and access to treatment.
  • Identify key issues related to herbal medicine and dietary supplements in patient care.
  • Identify key issues related to referrals to CAM providers.
  • Identify essential elements in the disciplinary process for health care providers.
  • Describe third-party reimbursement issues related to CAM therapies.
  • Define "willing provider laws.".
  • Explain key issues related to reimbursement, health care fraud, and experimental or medically unnecessary treatments.

There are many dynamic legal issues related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and the practice of CAM therapies that impact today’s health care environment. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), CAM is a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Although scientific evidence exists regarding some CAM therapies, there are still questions to be answered about whether these therapies are safe and whether they work for the purposes for which they are used (Cady, 2009). However, as this environment continues to change, these issues are certain to evolve as well.

What is law? Zetler & Bonello (2012) define it as the sum total of rules and regulations that govern a society is governed and which are created by people and exist to regulate all persons in that society. Laws are never separate from the current political, social, and economic influences of the time and location in which they are created. Understanding the law is an obligation of all health care providers and is essential to their safe and effective practice. Laws are important for health care practitioners because they (Zetler & Bonello, 2012):

  • provide a framework that establishes which actions are legal when caring for patients;
  • help establish boundaries for the actions of independent health providers;
  • differentiate the responsibilities of health care providers from other types of health professionals; and
  • maintain a standard of practice that holds health care providers accountable for their practice.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • Florida Office of School Psychology
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Professional Issues

Course Expires:

December 15, 2020

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.