Florida Law on Physician Presence Challenges Spa Owners

A new Florida law for cosmetic laser and light technology is challenging for spa owners, reports TampaBays.com.

According to the article: "If there is no physician at a satellite office, there needs to be a dermatologist or plastic surgeon signing off on all cosmetic laser and light procedures.... [Dr.] Spencer says, in the past owners have found a loophole that puts clients at risk, 'They get a retired physician to lend their name, the entrepreneur purchases the laser and then they put it in medi spa or day spa and they hire uneducated or poorly educated lay people essentially to operate these machines.'"

The article quotes its physician/spa owner as saying that many new spas are located in "'shopping malls and on the side of the road offering cosmetic lasers, they want me to give them my name and my license so they can stay in business.'" This can be perilous both for the MD and for the spa. Since negligence is typically defined as failure to take due care, which thereby injures someone, running roughshod over MD supervision requirements is inviting potential liability.

"While he refuses to give them his permission, many spas are still operating without the required approval," and that is a challenge for regulators and can create hazards for patients.

"While it's up to the board to regulate spas, Dr. Spencer says patients need to take precautions too. Ask whether a doctor is on site and make sure they're certified in cosmetic technology. If a doctor isn't there, ask for the name of the dermatologist or plastic surgeon overseeing the procedure."

Caveat emptor, again, although it may be a matter of getting sufficient resources to enforce the revelant legal rules as opposed to putting appropriate laws in place.