Aesthetics is one of the fastest growing fields in medicine, fueled by the introduction of more affordable nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, such as botulinum toxins, dermal fillers and laser treatments. These noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures are often performed by—or delegated to—allied health professionals and, in some cases, estheticians.
The unique, elective nature of these services combined with the wide range of providers soliciting patients has pushed state regulators to look more closely at issues such as scope of practice and physician supervision of ancillary providers. One of the biggest concerns currently facing the medical aesthetic industry is a lack of knowledge of the regulations governing providers and practice owners.
Keeping your medical practice or medspa in compliance with ever changing regulations is a difficult task. To help you stay up to date, I have compiled a list of the top 10 compliance issues cosmetic practices and medspas must regularly review to ensure they are operating within the bounds of state and federal law.
State Licensure Requirements
Most states consider injectables as well as laser and energy-based treatments medical procedures. The degree to which these services can be delegated to ancillary providers—such as registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs)—and unlicensed care providers varies based on state laws regarding scope of practice and physician supervision.
Scope of practice regulations dictate which procedures, actions and processes a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake based on their education, professional licensure and demonstrated competency. In New York state, an esthetician is permitted to perform laser hair removal, while estheticians in neighboring New Jersey are not permitted to operate any form of laser. Because the rules vary, it is imperative that you become familiar with your state’s regulatory guidelines. Practitioners who delegate tasks that are outside of the delegatee’s scope of practice may face civil penalties and/or criminal charges for aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine. The delegatee may also face prosecution.
In addition, practitioners who delegate treatments to ancillary providers must be able to perform the same tasks themselves—you cannot delegate a procedure to your staff that you do not know how to perform.
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