Friday, April 1, 2011

Non Corporate Practice of Medicine

I received a call today from a client. She received medical treatments in a medical spa in Southern California.  The provider was an RN who owns the medical spa. I have previously advised the client that the medical spa is not operating legally since it is owned by a non physician.  There was a complication and predictably, there is no physician on site or otherwise available.

Forty-five out of fifty states prohibit non physicians from owning or operating medical facilities. This includes medical spas or medical practices that engage exclusively in cosmetic, medical procedures.  There are limited exclusions to this (such as HMO's).  I do not understand why so many facilities ignore this well-standing premise of law.  In particular, nurses seem to feel that they can own a medical facility and provide treatments since they are fee for service or cosmetic in nature.  Many estheticians seem to believe this as well.

The short version of the story is that only physicians can own and operate a medical facility in the forty five out of fifty states (the notable exception is Florida).  Nurses must be employed by such a facility or otherwise contracted with them.  A medical director or supervisor is not enough to enable a nurse to own or operate a medical spa.

There are legal means in which a nurse and physician may own a medical spa together.  A medical spa is considered to be a medical facility and it must be governed accordingly.

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