By Kate Hickner
IV therapy businesses are popping up all over the country to provide infusions of electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins and fluids to those who need a quick pick-me-up – whether they are recovering from a marathon, a long night of partying that was perhaps a little too much fun or a stressful week of work.
Rumor has it that Adele, Kate Upton, John Legend, Simon Cowell and many other celebrities have embraced this wellness trend. In fact, social media postings include substantial evidence of celebrity IV therapy encounters.
Some elect to receive IV infusions in clinic locations (often called IV bars or drip bars), while others receive the IVs in their homes or at music festivals, athletic events or other locations. Receiving an infusion typically takes less than an hour. Depending upon the composition of the infusion and the location where it is administered, the cost of an IV infusion often ranges from $200 to $800 a pop.
KJK has represented IV therapy businesses in five states, from New York to Florida to California. Although each state has its own unique laws governing the provision of IV therapy as a wellness service, there are certain commonalities among most jurisdictions. This article is intended to share some general guidance to both IV therapy patients and providers.
Guidance for Patients
Here are a few pieces of advice for those patients incorporating IV infusions into their wellness routines:
- Select Your IV Therapy Provider With Care. Individuals who are interested in IV therapy as a wellness option should choose their provider carefully. It’s important to ask questions. For example, how are the infusions prepared and stored? Who will administer the infusion? How are physicians or nurse practitioners involved in the supervision of the IV therapy services and the business more generally? Is the location and equipment clean? Does the business provide drip IVs or the less desirable pumps that are designed to expedite the procedure, thereby increasing procedure volume and profit for the business? How does the business preserve the confidentiality of patient information?
- Consider the Related Medical Risks. There are certain risks associated with receiving any IV. Before getting an IV, patients need to understand the related risks of the IV placement itself and the substance being infused. Further, IVs are not safe for every individual. The staff of the IV therapy business must determine whether IV therapy is reasonably safe for the particular recipient. Kendall Jenner is an example of one celebrity who received substantial attention after an adverse reaction following an IV infusion.
Guidance for IV Infusion Businesses
IV therapy businesses need to be carefully structured to ensure compliance with applicable state laws. We advise physicians, health care entrepreneurs and others who conduct business in this space to do each of the following before engaging in an IV therapy business:
- Understand That These Are Generally Professional Medical Services. Under state law, IV therapy often constitutes the provision of professional medical services, even if the IV infusion is not medically necessary and is instead simply part of an elective wellness program. In general, that means that a licensed physician or nurse practitioner must supervise the IV as required. In some states, physicians must establish a physician-patient relationship and provide a patient-specific order before an IV line can be administered.
- Consider That Some States Require IV Therapy Businesses to Be Physician Owned. New York and other states have adopted the corporate practice of medicine, which often requires IV therapy businesses to be organized as professional entities owned only by physicians. These professional entities may or may not receive certain services from a non-professional management company owned by non-physicians.
- Ensure That Providers Comply With the Standard of Care. In most states, the physician owners and other physicians practicing through the IV therapy business are responsible for complying with the standard of care in connection with the IV therapy services. Those physicians who are involved will need to be able to defend their professional judgement if challenged. IV therapy businesses should consider this responsibility when drafting protocols with respect to when and how patient specific orders for the IV therapy will be communicated and the oversight and supervision provided by the physicians to those administering the IVs.
- Confirm That Proper Liability Insurance Is in Place. The entity that provides the IV therapy services should have proper insurance, including professional liability insurance, in place to cover related claims. Professional liability insurance carriers should be able to provide more specifics in such regard.
- Verify That Those Administering the IV Therapy Services Are Qualified. Those administering the IVs need to be properly licensed under applicable state law. In some states, not only RNs but also LPNs and medical assistants can administer IV lines under certain circumstances.
- Carefully Review and Comply With Unique State Law Considerations. IV therapy businesses must ensure that they are operating consistent with applicable state law. Many states have unusual licensure and supervision requirements. No one should assume that the law of one state is the same or even similar to the law of another. Further, consider that some states, such as Florida, more heavily enforce their state laws governing IV therapy programs.
KJK’s Healthcare Group is experienced in providing guidance to physician practices, med spas and other businesses that promote IV therapy as an elective wellness service. Upon request, we are available to provide state-specific guidance and answer other related questions that you may have. Feel free to reach out to Kate Hickner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.736.7279 if you would like to discuss further.
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