Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is a Medical Spa REALLY a Medical Practice??

Many people perceive that a medical spa is a spa that offers medical treatments.  It is a fair assumption, but the reality is that a "medical" spa is medical practice that is offering medical treatments in a spa setting or one that offers salon and/or spa treatments in addition to the medical services.  The distinction is significant.

For this reason, I advocate that a medical spa be owned by a physician. I specifically indicated "physician" and not a nurse, mid-level provider such as Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant or other non-physician.  It is possible for a on-physician to own a "medical" spa, but there are many issues and it is a complex business/legal/medical arrangement. In my experience of 20 years in the medical spa industry, I have rarely seen a properly structured medical spa that is owned by a non-physician.

There are two central reasons that a medical spa should be owned by a physician: Medical procedures and/or medical devices and equipment is being utilized in the delivery of services and in 45/50 states there are statutes prohibiting the "corporate practice of medicine".

Today, I received a "groupon" email for discounted laser services in Las Vegas.  "Paddy Deighan, you can receive 56% laser facial services at (redacted) laser spa". Really??  I investigated the facility and it is owned and operated by an esthetician that is clearly practicing medicine.  This is typical of many, many similar infractions.

There is a lot to lose...monetary fines, loss of professional license, and in some cases, prison time!  Why people risk sooo much for a perceived value of owning a "medical spa" has been a mystery to me.... 

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