A recent article in The Wall Street Journal, “Medical Spas Get a Checkup” highlighted the inconsistencies of Medical Spa regulations from state to state, as well as issues with consumer safety. Recently, medical spa injuries have prompted a few states to try and establish protective regulations, raising concern from many practitioners.
In response to the Wall Street article, The Huffington Post asked me to give my thoughts and opinions on these proposed regulations. I was joined by Dr. Mitchel Goldman, President elect of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and Paula Di Marco Young, Registered Nurse and owner/ operator of three medical spas and a tattoo removal laser center. We each spoke about various aspects of the Medical Spa industry and how there are areas that need improvement and standardized regulations. Watch the video here.
The primary concerns circled around what defines a medical spa, consumer safety, education and training of staff and technicians, standardization of practices and ultimately how, as an industry, we can take appropriate and thoughtful action.
In the public arena, there seems to be some confusion as to what defines a Medical Spa. As Acara, and those in the industry know, Medical Spas and MedSpas are in fact medical practices that adhere to the same guidelines as any other medical practice. The grey area comes with the use of the word “Spa.” The industry has used the word spa to capture its “halo effect” to entice the marketplace by making themselves more consumer friendly than a medical office. The issue that ensues is that there is no standardization state-to-state on the guidelines, training and regulations for Medical Spas and that is where there is trouble.
Dr. Mitchel Goldman’s main concern was that many medical spas do not have a physician on site. He stated that he would “prefer to have physician on site” and that there is untrained staff performing laser procedures without the doctor present. “No physician on premise to take care of potential problems” is his real issue, he reiterates. Contrary to that point, Paula DiMarco Young, who has successfully run three laser centers, has highly trained and certified technicians, where everything is signed off on by the physician, even when he may not be on site.
It appears that all three of us were in concert regarding the safety and guidelines for medical spas. Dr. Goldman did say that “most procedures done in medical spas are done safely, but technicians don’t always have the best expertise.” Like any procedure that one would have done, consumers need to educate themselves about the service/treatment they are about to receive. As we know there are businesses that do not comply with standardized protocols and safety measures, which can lead to complications. I personally feel that there needs to be more training and consumer awareness and education, as well as uniform certifications for laser training throughout the states.
As the industry moves along in this journey, I hope that as a collective group, appropriate and reasonable guidelines will be standardized between the states. In the meantime, consistent compliance and safety in our operations will continue.