Know the Law- SB577

California Senate Bill SB‐577, which was signed by the governor in September 2002, has had profound implications for the practice of alternative forms of health care in California. SB‐577 enables alternative and complementary health care practitioners, such as Ayurvedic practitioners, to provide and advertise their services legally without fear of being prosecuted for “practicing medicine without a license” (a felony offense).

Practitioners are protected by SB-577 as long as they comply with certain requirements specified within the bill.

What you MUST DO to comply with SB577:

  • Provide clients/patients with a statement, written in plain language that includes the following information: (1) that you are not a licensed physician and you’re your services are not licensed by the state; (2) a brief and clear description of the kind of services you provide and the reasoning behind it; and (3) a description of your education, training, and experience.

  • Ask clients/patients to sign an acknowledgement that they received the above written statement, and provide them with a copy of it. You must keep a copy of their signed acknowledgement for three years.

What you CANNOT DO in order to comply with SB-577:

  • Perform any form of surgery, or any procedure that punctures the skin or harmfully invades the client/patient’s body.

  • Use X‐ray radiation.

  • Prescribe prescription drugs or recommend that clients/patients discontinue drugs that were prescribed by a licensed physician.

  • Set fractures.

  • Treat wounds with electrotherapy.

  • Put clients/patients at risk of great bodily harm, serious physical or mental illness, or death.

  • Imply in any way that you are a licensed physician.

Please read SB 577 carefully for the complete requirements.

For further information on compliance with SB-577:

  • Seek counsel from your own private attorney as to how best to comply with SB-577 and to better understand the specific legal ramifications related to your unique practice.