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    Board Policy of Licensee Rental of Spaces

    Posted 8-18-2011

    The Board has been deliberating on the issues of employing non-healthcare practitioners and licensees renting out spaces to non-healthcare practitioners (e.g. registered massage practitioners, aroma therapists, naturopaths, physical trainers, exercise instructors, etc. The Board issues the following policy guidance based on its review:
    1.     Licensees may NOT EMPLOY a non-healthcare practitioner and may NOT REFER patients to non-healthcare practitioners. For example a chiropractic licensee must employ a Licensed Massage Therapist and NOT a Registered Massage Practitioner because only the former is a bona fide healthcare practitioner authorized to work in a healthcare setting.
    2. The issue in question has been: “Can a licensee RENT a space to a non-healthcare practitioner within the logistical confines of his/her practice suite?” After considerable deliberation and advice, the Board opines that there is no prohibition for licensees renting spaces to non-healthcare practitioners (regardless of location on the premises). The Board opines that licensees may rent to non-healthcare practitioners but that the practitioner and lessee should take prudent measures to clearly notify the public that the non-healthcare lessee is not affiliated with or sponsored by the chiropractor. This can be done through signage or through printed materials distributed to patients/clients. Also, as stated above, the chiropractic licensee may not refer patients to any non-healthcare practitioner.
    Failure to define the non-affiliation of a non-healthcare practitioner with the chiropractic licensee could result in the appearance of a violation of Maryland Code Ann., Health Occ. Art., § 3-313(18), which prohibits practicing chiropractic with unauthorized (e.g. unlicensed) individuals. Additionally, COMAR prohibits chiropractic licensees from engaging in commercial activities that conflict with the duties of a chiropractor. Under this same COMAR provision, the licensee may be (or appear to be) engaging in a non-healthcare activity that is in direct conflict with chiropractic. As a result, the public may misinterpret the logistical situation and file a complaint based on the aforementioned law and regulations. Such situations can be prevented by providing the aforementioned notification to patients/clients. Taking these prudent steps will help avoid confusion or misconceptions by the general public. Any questions regarding this matter should be addressed to the Board Executive Director for clarification.