Our healthcare and business law firm works with healthcare providers and businesses like IV hydration therapy practices. The IV hydration therapy industry has grown drastically over the past few years. Some states and medical boards have developed laws and rules governing IV Hydration Therapy practices. On August 15, 2023, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, Pharmacy, and Nursing published a joint opinion on Retail IV Therapy Businesses. The language used and sanctions referenced reveal that the South Carolina Boards are critically reviewing IV therapy businesses. At one place in the 10-page opinion, the Pharmacy Board compared the “patient-drive menu” in many IV therapy practices “to a fast-food restaurant.” Reading between the lines of the advisory opinion, it is likely each board will begin cracking down on IV therapy practices. A full version of the Advisory Opinion is available here. We recommend you read the entire opinion if you have or are starting an IV therapy business in South Carolina. This blog post starts our review of the Advisory Opinion and outlines whether IV therapy is the practice of medicine. Forthcoming blog posts will dive deeper into different aspects of the opinion. If you have a question about South Carolina’s rules or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
- What lead to this opinion?
After reviewing the opinion, it is clear that each South Carolina board believed this opinion necessary for four main reasons: (1) the proliferation of IV therapy businesses, (2) lack of clear guidelines, industry standard, and South Carolina rules and laws, (3) potential harm to South Carolina residents, and (4) concerning questions received by each board. It appears that the board and/or their advisors and counsel reviewed how retail IV therapy practices were organized and operating in South Carolina.
- What is included in the opinion?
The Advisory Opinion is broken down into four main segments: a segment covering the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners and the Medical Practice Act, one discussing telemedicine, a segment about the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Practice Act, and a portion about the South Carolina Board of Nursing and the Nurse Practice Act. Although many similar opinions from other states are vague and contain ambiguities, the South Carolina advisory opinion is straight to the point on its concerns with IV therapy practices and why many of them violate South Carolina law.
- Is IV therapy the practice of medicine?
The most important question concerning IV therapy clinics–and one answered almost unanimously in the affirmative by state boards that have considered this question—is: “Is IV therapy the practice of medicine.” In no uncertain terms, the Advisory Opinion states, “Yes.” In fact, the opinion provides: “There is no question that the services being provided by IV retail clinics constitutes the practice of medicine. The practice of medicine in this State includes (1) offering or undertaking to prescribe, order, give, or administer any drug or medicine for the use of any other person, (2) offering or undertaking to prevent or to diagnose, correct or treat in any manner, or by any means, methods, or devices, disease, illness, pain, wound, fracture, infirmity, defect, or abnormal physical or mental condition of a person, and (3) rendering a determination of medical necessity or a decision affecting the diagnosis and/or treatment of a patient. S.C. Code Ann. § 40-47-20(36)(2011).
If you are in any way affiliated with an IV therapy clinic in South Carolina, we recommend reviewing the advisory opinion. If you have a question about South Carolina’s rules or would like to discuss this blog post, you may contact our healthcare and business law firm at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, email@example.com. You may also learn more about our law firm by visiting www.hamillittle.com.
*Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice.