Many education and business training programs purport to teach doctors and other health care professionals that they can expand their practice by practicing telemedicine across state lines, or even in other areas of the world, under the guise of calling yourself a “consultant” or “health coach” and by signing a fancy consultant agreement.
Planning to order tests, diagnose illnesses, treat ailments, and prescribe medication (whether taking insurance or not, or getting paid or not), without a license, is a clear violation of the law. License and medical boards, as well as prosecutors, see through this deception and will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law whether you harm someone or not. If you are participating in medical practices that a doctor is licensed to do, then you need a license to practice medicine. It’s simply not a good idea for you to call yourself a health consultant and practice medicine across state lines at the same time.
Practicing medicine under the guise of calling yourself a “consultant” or “health coach” will open you up to numerous consequences:
There is risk in various ways whether there is prosecution or not.
Though many are getting away with being called a “consultant” or “health coach” while practicing telemedicine across state lines or throughout the world, it is just like taking the chance of driving over the speed limit. You are not likely to get pulled over though driving a bit over the speed limit. It usually takes a speed that is well over the speed limit to get caught. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t be pulled over for any speed over the limit. It’s the same with being a health coach. Perhaps as a health couch you step over the “practicing medicine line” just a little, engaging in far fewer medical practices while some health coaches may be engaging in many more illegal practices than you, i.e., ordering tests, practicing medicine, and/or prescribing medications. No matter whether you are practicing medicine a “little” or “a lot,” in the eyes of the state, you are both the same. You may even have more credentials than the next guy, but you are both doing the same illegal activity and are at the same risk of being caught.
This is all safe and legal, enabling you to provide for up to 500 patients a year, without putting yourself in criminal liability.
Signing up for that course or mentorship with someone who is a consultant will not benefit you in the long run. You cannot call yourself a “consultant” and/or “health coach” while practicing medicine. If your actions are that of practicing medicine, you need to call what you do what it is – practicing medicine.
There’s much animosity from the MD ranks toward those that call themselves “health coaches” and practice medicine. It’s tempting and easy for you to practice across state lines, calling yourself a “health coach.” But don’t do it. Expanding your practice using telemedicine can be done legally by creating an online course, talking to me personally about getting telemedicine licenses in other states, and referring to my telemedicine book and tutorial on how to create a course in a day.