Thursday, July 14, 2011

Non-Physician Owned Medical Spas

It is really frustrating to see soooo many medical spas violating basic state and federal laws. I had occasion to visit a medspa in Las Vegas this week. I was SHOCKED at the number of state and federal violations I noticed. Medical assistants injecting Botox® cosmetic, non-licensed individuals operating a laser, equipment not available in the USA, and a “supervising” physician that has never been on the site!! In fact, a medical assistant should not be employed in that capacity by a non-physician owned medical spa!! It amazes me that there is so much clear violation of so many laws and the arrogance of those that defend the un-defendable when approached with the issues.
Compliance is on the rise and states, the FDA and other federal agencies are becoming more aware of the issues. Physicians are more aware of the duties and responsibilities of being a medical director or in medically supervising another facility.
Folks, it is time to wake up and appreciate that a non-physician owned medical spa is a huge concern, It is very difficult for such facilities to operate in any manner of compliance. They are called “medical” spas for a reason. I am not saying that it is impossible; but it is problematic!! Websites frequently provide so much information of violations that regulators would not even have to visit the site! Websites and advertising are the biggest source of compliance triggers. The facility that I visited this week had CLEAR indication that the physician was the owner of the medical spa!! AS I mentioned, the physician had never even been on the site!! Peer complaints are next – many of your peers will complain to the boards of cosmetology or medicine. The boards, by charter, must investigate EVERY complaint – no matter how deficient on its face. The cost of defending a compliance audit is HUGE and the fines and penalties are high. There is even criminal prosecution and loss of professional license possibilities. Yes, this does happen!!


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