Thursday, July 21, 2011

Physician Delegation Principles in Medical Spas and Aesthetic Medicine

It seems that my blogs regarding esthetician injectors of Botox® Cosmetic and dermal fillers such as Restylane® and Juvéderm® have become a contemptuous topic of conversation. I received a call from a cosmetic surgeon in Texas and this prompted me to further elaborate on the issue that I have presented. Accordingly, I wanted to elaborate.

The first area of explanation is that there is no license in any state for a “medical aesthetician”. It is a term that was created several years ago to identify estheticians working in a medical setting (physician office or hospital). I have advocated that estheticians not utilize the term because it is arguably deceptive. The public (the clients and patients) would likely believe that a person utilizing this term has higher scope of practice and can perform more medically oriented procedures. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has addressed issues such as this in the past and it consistently maintains that utilization of such terms is deceptive to the public.

Additionally, in most states, the esthetician license is not recognized in a medical practice or hospital. Most boards of cosmetology maintain that a physician is not the appropriate supervisor for cosmetology. Accordingly, estheticians working in most medical settings are doing so under the physician delegation principles within the particular state.

States have varying regulations on physician delegation. Arguably in some instances and in some states, a physician could delegate any medical procedure to any individual. However, this rationale is based upon state delegation laws. Federal law would prohibit much of the conduct that we are experiencing in the medical aesthetics area. I hesitate to even utilize the term “federal law” in this regard because it is not so much a particular regulation or statute that is a problem. The federal issues are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that are at issue. The brief explanation of why estheticians and others are not able to inject Botox Cosmetic and dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm is that in the case of Botox Cosmetic, it is a prescription drug and in the case of the dermal fillers, they are medical devices. Injectors are also utilizing syringes and exposing the patient to a potential for bleeding and these additional issues necessarily mandate that estheticians not inject substances.

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