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October 13, 2020

Who Can Perform Medi-Spa Procedures in California?

Medical spas, also called medi-spas or med spas, may offer the relaxing experiences associated with traditional spas, but they may also offer medical procedures more commonly associated with doctor’s offices and hospitals. For this reason, California and many other states have strict laws governing how medical spas must operate.

State Laws on Medical Spas

Regulations on medical spas vary from state to state. State requirements may impact who can own a medical spa, who can provide medical spa services, and other relevant details. 

Some states are quite strict, while others are relatively lax. For example, according to Dermascope, some states may require medical spa owners to be physicians, while other states may allow nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, or even non-licensed individuals to have full or partial ownership.

California Requirements for Medi-Spas

California’s requirements for medical spas are considered stringent. According to the Medical Board of California, medical spas fall under the practice of medicine.

  • Medical procedures – including the use of injections, lasers, and medical-level dermabrasion or skin peels – must be performed by a physician or by a registered nurse or physician assistant under the supervision of a physician.
  • Medical spas that provide medical procedures must be owned by physicians.
  • Patients should be fully informed. Specifically, they should know the qualifications of the person performing the procedure, the risks associated with the procedure, and how complications will be handled.  

The Medical Board of California provides more frequently asked questions for cosmetic treatments.

Illegal Medical Spa Operations

Medical spa treatments can go dangerously wrong. There have been tragic news stories of people suffering severe medical complications after getting illicit injections, and the FDA has issued a warning about dangerous silicone injections that can result in pain, disfigurement, and even death.

Some back-alley treatments are clearly illegal and dangerous. However, not all infractions are so obvious. According to Dermatology Times, many medical spa owners may be unaware that they are operating illegal businesses. This can happen when the people involved fail to meet the state’s requirements for medical spas.

It’s not just unlicensed individuals who can run afoul of state laws, either. Medical professionals may also find themselves accused of operating illegal medical spas. In one example reported by Fresno Bee, a Department of Consumer Affairs investigator in California conducted undercover investigations involving a registered nurse who was accused of hosting Botox parties without a doctor’s supervision. A doctor was also accused of aiding and abetting the nurse.

Key Considerations

There is a significant demand for medical spa treatments and these businesses can be very profitable. However, to avoid problems, it’s important to consider key issues.

  • What are the current state laws on medical spas? Watch for changes in regulations.
  • If you will be providing medical spa services, do you meet the requirements in your state?
  • If you will be the owner or partial owner of a medical spa, can you ensure that the spa will comply with all state laws?
  • Does the medical spa have adequate insurance coverage in case something goes wrong? Even fully compliant medical spa procedures carry some risk.

Get the Right Insurance for Your Medi-Spa Business

Contact us at the Heffernan Insurance Brokers Medical Malpractice Insurance Division to ensure that your medi-spa business is properly insured. We only work with the best carriers, and we’re free to recommend the plans and options that are best for our clients, without any hidden agendas.

The depth of our experience enables us to help clients in all aspects of the business of healthcare and our expert team of attorneys are always here to provide assistance with legislative & compliance regulations. Visit our blog for all the latest updates on health care.

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