Can Non-Doctors Own Medical Spas?

Opening a medical spa, whether it’s for Lasik eye surgery or surgery for vascular lesions, doesn’t always require a degree program for you to be successful. In fact, unless you’re interested in performing surgery yourself (which, of course, would necessitate that you’re a qualified surgeon), you may not need much more than a management service, a medical assistant, and a cosmetic laser or other medical equipment. Still, this can be a difficult career path for those in the United States, so there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind that might impact your eligibility.

Management services matter

In many states, only a qualified public health professional with a history of medical education is able to become an applicant to own a medical practice. Medical spas, on the other hand, are able to be privately owned and managed through a management services organization (MSO). While you’ll still need physicians, medical assistants, and the proper medical equipment, you’ll be able to take a much larger leadership role in the medical programs you offer on a day-to-day basis. Whether these include laser therapy, laser surgery, or chemotherapy options, the stimulated emission of radiation is up to you.

MSO options are excellent choices for many physicians as the separation they entail works to mitigate the risk taken on by both parties. If the practice were to fail for any reason, the physician has less overall liability. For newer treatments like laser therapy and laser surgery, where medical education and medical degrees are still evolving, risk management is an important component. Since some still view laser therapy and laser surgery as more experimental treatments, it’s important to cover your bases when you’re structuring your practice. There’s also another evolving component of medical education that relates to the growth in laser technology and laser light wavelength treatments.

Choosing the proper equipment

Since you’re taking on a leadership role in your medical spa (and since you may not have a medical degree or supplemental coursework), choosing the right light amplification equipment is important if you’re going to pursue laser treatment. Sometimes, if you need an aesthetic laser on a budget, this means researching used lasers. This is where it’s important to do some additional digging. Do you need an aesthetic laser with a certification, for example one that is Blue Dot Certified? Would you be better off paying a premium for a new product? Or do you skip that premium and select a laser system and training program on a budget and upgrade down the road? All of these are important questions, whether you’re treating swelling, vascular lesions, or have patients who rely on Medicare or Medicaid.

Often, it’s best to look into an aesthetic laser education program. While an education program isn’t a substitute for a medical degree, you’re able to learn about different wavelength laser beams, like short pulse, continuous-wave, and diode lasers. Knowing more about the laser operation, blue light, visible light, and optical fiber options will give you a much better idea of where you should allocate your funds. Since you likely won’t be prescribing medications or referring patients (especially those on Medicare and Medicaid) to the pharmacy, you need to be well-versed in many aspects of laser operation and different laser types.

The bottom line

Opening a laser treatment medical spa is a worthy pursuit that requires high-energy leadership to succeed. If you need more clarification on ownership of a medical spa, it’s a good idea to find a comprehensive resource and do additional research since medical spas differ greatly from a long-term care facility. From continuous-wave lasers to different wavelength machines, there are plenty of things to keep in mind when opening your medical spa.

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