The Law and Alternative Wellness Practices

A Seminar for Professional Healers by Ralph Fucetola, JD



Index: Introduction, Objectives, Seminar Dates, Sponsoring



Ralph Fucetola, JD, The Vitamin Lawyer, offers a half day seminar to train physicians, alternative practitioners and their staff to avoid the pitfalls of illegal practices while enhancing their ability to provide non-standard alternative modalities. The specific objectives of the seminar are set forth below.

More about the Speaker -- Vitamin Lawyer News and Biography & Articles.

The Medical Practices Acts of the several States do not prohibit individuals from receiving unorthodox treatments, that are not part of the standard practice of medicine, nor from dispensing with medical treatment entirely, and seeking other alternate means to achieve and maintain health.

"The state has not restricted the cure of the body to the practice of medicine and surgery -- allopathy, as it is termed, -- nor required that, before anyone can be treated for any bodily ill, the physician must have acquired a competent knowledge of allopathy and be licensed by those skilled therein. To do that would be to limit progress by establishing allopathy as the state system of healing, and forbidding all others. This would be as foreign to our system as a state church for the cure of souls. All the state has done has been to enact that, when one wished to practice medicine or surgery, he must, as a protection to the public [not to the doctor], be examined and licensed by those skilled in surgery and medicine. To restrict all healing to that one kind -- to allopathy, excluding homeopathy, osteopathy, and all other treatments -- might be a protection to doctors in surgery and medicine; but that is not the object of the act, and might make it unconstitutional, because creating a monopoly." North Carolina's Supreme Court in State v MacKinght, 42 S.E. 580, 1902 at p 582.

Truly, as the Supreme Court of the United States offered, "Mere unorthodoxy or dissent from the prevailing mores is not to be condemned. The absence of such voices would be a symptom of grave illness in our society..." Sweeney v New Hampshire, 354 US 234, p.251.

In Hillman/Kohan Eyeglasses, Inc v New Jersey State Board, 169 NJ Super 259, the State Supreme Court observed that, absent compelling health reasons, consumers should have choices in the competitive marketplace, and further, that if the legislature had intended to create a monopoly, it would have done so by specific grant of monopoly, which it did not do in the case of optometry, nor, we assert, in the case of the healing professions.

Individuals have the right to obtain unlicensed, private professional health care services. The Southern District of Texas case of Andrews v Ballard (498 F Supp 1038, 1980) is cited as a leading authority for the propositions that (1) a decision to obtain (in that case) acupuncture needle treatments from one not licensed as a medical doctor is a constitutional right encompassed by the right of privacy (p.1048) and (2) the provisions of the medical practices act, insofar as they limit the use of acupuncture needles to licensed physicians, are unconstitutional (p.1051, et seq.).

Throughout the Twentieth Century, Judges repeatedly championed the rights of the individual to freedom of choice in health care. Even the AMA begrudgingly amended its Code of Ethics to promote cooperation between licensed physicians and other health care providers.

This half day seminar explores the stormy relationship among the licensed and unlicensed healing arts during the Twentieth and into the Twenty First Centuries. It is taught by Ralph Fucetola, JD, who has worked with health care practitioners during most of his quarter century as an attorney at law. He maintains The Vitamin Lawyer Web Site, and practices in the New York metro area.

The seminar will cover the history of the Medical Practices Acts ("A license is a limitation."), case law, recent developments (such as the change in the Code of Ethics and recent FDA nutrient rules changes), and several alternative structures for practitioners to consider, including religious and private association approaches and asset protection strategies.


The specific objectives of the seminar are:

1) As a result of participation in this seminar health professionals will be able to identify specific office procedures that might put their practices in jeopardy.

2) As a result of participation in this seminar health professionals will be able to identify the appropriate research procedures that are in line with FDA/FTC guidelines.

3) As a result of participation in this seminar health professionals will be able to learn to utilize appropriate language to describe their activities in ways that do not raise Red Flags in the minds of Federal regulators and State medical boards.

We will discuss the Red Flag Words and how to differentiate between licensed medicine and alternative or complementary practices. We will take a look at the Herbalists' Charter.

Health Care Professionals will leave the seminar with a better understanding of the legal restrictions on their practices and the steps they can take to practice in security and freedom.

Latest News & Links to the latest cases, such as Thompson v Western States Medical Center (2002 Commercial Speech case). Vitamin Lawyer News here: News.


Any public seminar dates, costs and locations to be posted here.

Private Seminar Dates by Mutual Agreement.


If you would be interested in sponsoring a seminar in your area, please email me at and put "seminar" in the subject line.


ã 2001 08/25/01, 11/21/02
All rights reserved.

Back to