A Malpractice Lawyer in Maryland Discusses Medi-Spas: From Manicure to MalpracticeMarch 2, 2013
In recent years, so-called medi-spas offering cosmetic medical treatments have been popping up all over the country like liver spots on an aging face. According to one report, their numbers have increased over 300 percent in the past decade, with nearly 20,000 such facilities operating nationwide.
Basically a cross between a beauty salon and an outpatient surgery center, medi-spas present challenges to regulators because they don’t quite fit the mold of a medical facility. For one thing, they offer treatments that are almost exclusively elective procedures paid for by the customer, rarely involving health insurance companies (one of the ways Maryland defines an outpatient surgery center).
Although they clearly provide services beyond the scope of your average hairdresser — including procedures such as laser skin treatments, Botox injections and liposuction — many states have been slow to establish and enforce laws that ensure trained medical professionals supervise and/or perform these procedures. As one commentator wryly put it, “In some states, a blind psychiatrist sleeping in a back room is enough to keep a medi-spa open.”
Fortunately, the Maryland legislature has recently turned its attention toward tightening regulation of medi-spas. The state department of health already established rules in 2010 pertaining to the responsibilities of physicians in overseeing certain cosmetic medical procedures. Most importantly, the facility’s on-site physician bears the responsibility of delegating procedures to only properly trained, licensed, and supervised non-physician personnel. For the customer/patient, this assures not only a higher level of safety, but also the backing of the physician’s medical malpractice insurance, should anything go awry.