New regulations for IV wellness businesses in Ala.

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 12:38 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 12:43 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You’ve probably seen the IV wellness businesses popping up across Alabama. The treatments are advertised as a quick solution for dehydration, hangovers, fatigue to name a few.

The state issued new, important regulations for these businesses on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

This news comes after WBRC FOX6 News launched our own investigation to determine if the practice is safe and regulated. During the investigation, Jennifer Horton found some people were practicing medicine without a license.

The new order means qualified medical professionals are required to evaluate patients and determine the best course of treatment.

While it seems like a benign wellness treatment, IV Therapy requires a prescription.

Our investigation found a number of wellness clinics operating with a standing doctor’s order, but that physician was rarely on site, writing a prescription.

Wilson Hunter, the General Counsel at Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, said, “It becomes the physician aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine by other individuals because they’re not there making health care decisions with the patient and using their expertise to assist the patient. We also found some that were run by chiropractors, which, in our research, we found out the chiropractors are prohibited from administering IVs or providing medicine in that way. That was something that was kind of a hard stop there.”

Many who used this therapy, choose their treatment from a menu, like at a restaurant, not realizing it’s a regulated medical intervention.

Hunter said, “There’s nowhere else in medicine that you can just walk into a hospital and say, I want an appendectomy and here’s a standing order. You know, the physician has to make a decision that this course of treatment is good for the patient, won’t harm them and is consistent with whatever comorbidities other issues they’ve got going on. A patient can’t just self direct their care or have somebody who’s not qualified to direct their care.”

The new rule also requires drip bars to operate as a medical practice.

“There were a few adverse events that we found in our investigation that the clinics had heard about or knew about. Part of our request and mandate to them is that they need to keep good patient records because who knows how many other events went on unreported? Really, they were treating this like a business and the records weren’t really up to medical standards,” Hunter said.

Here’s the big takeaway about the IV Therapy regulations:

  • Requires a physician, physician assistant or those with advanced nursing qualifications such as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner or a Certified Nurse-Midwife to personally evaluate patients and make treatment recommendations.
  • The businesses must create medical records that comply with Alabama law.
  • A prescription must be issued by the medical professionals listed above before patients can receive IV therapy.

Subscribe to our WBRC newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email.

Copyright 2022 WBRC. All rights reserved.