Medical Directors of Medical Spas Beware

Physicians with little training in aesthetic medicine are cashing in on the med spa craze by becoming "medical directors" at medical spas and laser centers. According to a recent article by the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), they may be in for a rude awakening...

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...physicians looking to add their name to a medical spa business to supplement their income, but if they are not legally compliant or trained and experienced in this area of medicine, they could risk losing their license or injuring patients.

Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) January 31, 2014

Due to the recent surge in popularity, the medical spa industry is attracting not only dermatologists and plastic surgeons, but also general practitioners, OB/GYN’s, and ER physicians across the country who want a piece of this lucrative business.

But according to a recent article published by the American Med Spa Association (“AmSpa”), many physicians don’t realize that being employed by a medical spa without actually owning the medical spa, or performing aesthetic treatments without the proper training and experience, is often illegal. And since the physicians are ultimately responsible for what transpires in the medical practice, it is often the physicians, not the med spa employees, who are held responsible.

In the article “Want to Be a Medical Director at a Med Spa? Beware,” AmSpa Associate General Counsel Renee Coover writes that it is crucial for physicians to know the laws and regulations pertaining to medical spas before signing on as ‘medical director’ to make some fast cash. If they don’t, the medical director may be receiving an unfriendly visit from state regulators.

According to Coover, physicians acting as medical directors must be mindful of two things: improper ownership and lack of experience.

In Illinois where Coover practices, for instance, only a licensed physician may own a medical spa. If a physician contracts with a med spa owned by a non-physician, the physician is breaking the law.

“The law is clear in Illinois that non-physicians may not have any part in ownership of a medical spa and this means the physician cannot be employed by non-physicians as medical director of a med spa,” said Renee Coover, Associate General Counsel for AmSpa. “Of course, the laws vary from state to state so it is important to check with your own state regulatory authority before signing on the dotted line as medical director.”

Another often overlooked legal requirement is that to practice medicine in a medical spa setting, the physician must have training, licensure and experience in the aesthetic procedures and treatments performed on patients. In other words, if a physician wants to delegate aesthetic medical procedures to RN’s, laser techs, or physician assistants, the physician needs to be trained and experienced in that type of medicine.

Not only do patients want assurance that the physician at the medical spa actually practices the type of medicine being offered at the med spa, most state laws demand it. According to the article, “just as a podiatrist cannot perform heart surgery, a physician cannot inject Botox and fillers without any experience or training in this specialty.”

Physicians without any training in aesthetic medicine who contract to serve as a “medical director” are facing potential ramifications against their license.

According to Coover, “The lure of the medical spa industry is very enticing for physicians looking to add their name to a medical spa business to supplement their income, but if they are not legally compliant or trained and experienced in this area of medicine, they could risk losing their license or injuring patients.”

According to the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), every state has different rules and regulations regarding medical spa ownership and specialization requirements for aesthetic medicine and if physicians fail to comply with applicable state laws, they could face harsh penalties and fines.

To read AmSpa’s full article on this issue, entitled “Want to Be a Medical Director at a Med Spa? Beware”, visit http://www.americanmedspa.org

For more information on AmSpa, please contact Gina Shaffer, Director Marketing and Business Development, at 312.981.0993, or via email at gshaffer(at)americanmedspa(dot)org.


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