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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Betty F. Lay

Abstract

As the nature of healthcare in the United States evolves to include alternative therapies, it is reasonable to ask whether patients who seek medical treatment from alternative health practitioners are entitled to invoke the same testimonial privilege as that accorded to patients who seek treatment from conventional medical doctors.

In her Note, the author explores the merits of applying the physician-patient privilege to the alternative healthcare setting. The analysis also considers alternative legal schemes for preserving the confidentiality of patients' communications, such as the existence of voluntary ethical codes of conduct and the state constitutional right to privacy. The author concludes by proposing modifications to the California Evidence Code's physician-patient privilege which would extend the privilege to licensed alternative heath practitioners.

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