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What are the potential pitfalls associated with acting as a Medi-Spa Medical Director?

Agreeing to act as a medical director for a medical spa may appear to be an appealing way to augment a practitioner’s regular practice.  However, acting in such a capacity can often place a provider’s license into jeopardy so providers should be aware of what they are really agreeing to do and their responsibilities.  Below are a few items to keep in mind.

  • Who owns the medical spa?  State licensing boards regulate individuals holding professional licenses that may work at a medi-spas, however, there is no specific state regulatory body that oversees medical spas which may be owned by unlicensed individuals.  The unsuspecting medical director may be held responsible for acts or omissions that occur at the medical spa due to an unlicensed spa owner not understanding legal requirements pertaining to the various aspects of the medi-spa. 


  • What is the extent of your duties?   Acting as a medical director is much more than simply allowing your name to be used in that capacity.  You should be provided with a contract to act as a medical director, which should include a description of your duties.  However, don’t rely solely on that description as legally a provider may have additionally responsibilities such being responsible for the training and supervision of certain nurses and/or medical assistants who work at the medical spa.


  • Are you qualified to act as medical director?  A physician may only practice within the scope of their training and experience and supervise individuals within that scope.  If a licensing board investigation is conducted regarding your duties as a medi-spa medical director, be prepared to support that you have the training, or your scope of practice covers the procedures performed at the medical spa.


  • There is no such thing as a “medical aesthetician” in Nevada.  Nevada does not license “medical aestheticians”.  Do not rely on statements from spa management that they have medical aestheticians performing certain procedures.  Aestheticians/cosmetologists may perform those services that are within the scope of their license with the Board of Cosmetology.  However, if any individual engaged in assisting with or performing any procedure that is considered medical, they are either acting as a medical assistant or as a nurse, if licensed as such, and must be supervised as legally required.  A provider should be very careful that in acting as a medical director they are not aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine. 


  • Be drug aware.  Be aware of any state pharmacy statutes or regulations that may be applicable to the purchase, storage, administration or dispensing of any dangerous drugs (e.g. Latisse) that may be utilized at a medical spa and whether your credentials are being used to purchase any substances.  

It is certainly possible to act as a medical director of a medical spa without running into licensing problems, but before agreeing to act in that capacity, a provider should be very aware of what their on-going legal responsibilities are.

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