Massachusetts Medical Spa Task Force Drafts Standards and Proposed Regulations

A recent article in American Medical News entitled "State boards keep an eye on medical spas" focuses on the Massachusetts State boards actions to regulate medical spas. The task force's goal is to ensure that patients are safe and that physicians perform or supervise certain procedures properly.

Massachusetts has formed a medical spa task force to draft standards and regulations, attracting attention from other boards interested to see what it proposes. Thus far, many boards have taken a reactive approach, responding to complaints from patients or physicians on a particular procedure and creating rules on it. The article cites that a major problem is that different practitioners -- such as aestheticians, cosmetologists and nurses -- do various procedures, and each is regulated by a different board in most states.

The Federation of State Medical Boards has no national guidelines on how boards should deal with medical spas. But the organization is raising awareness about the facilities. The FSMB in October devoted its monthly roundtable conference call to medical spas and a board attorneys' workshop featured a session about spas.

'It is something that's being looked at around the country because it's a relatively new phenomenon and it's changing very rapidly. We're monitoring what states are doing and sharing information at this point,' said Lisa Robin, FSMB senior vice president of member services.

In July 2005, the board approved a revised statement that said each laser hair removal patient must first be examined by a physician, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. A physician is expected to provide adequate oversight before and after the procedure, the board said.