The MedSpa industry in the United States has experienced a growth rate of 133% in the past five years. Moreover, “as the current economic environment continues, the myriad of minimally invasive and less expensive procedures offered at Medical Spas, including Wellness Centers and Anti-Aging Clinics is expected to continue to garner more and more of the aesthetic medicine market,” comments Jeff Russell, Executive Director for the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM). To capitalize on this profitable field of medicine, more physicians and non-physicians are launching offerings into the Medical Spa market, by opening separate facilities or turning parts of their existing practices into medispa treatment areas.
However, the confidence of the public is a driving factor in the intervention of some state medical regulators to demand “tougher rules for the exploding medical spa business.” In January 2009, the Massachusetts State Board of Registration’s Medical Spa Task Force published its recommendations that, “draft legislation be developed that included authorization and direction to the Department of Public Health to license medical spas for renewable terms of two years, similar to clinic and nursing home licensure already performed by the Department. The legislation also sets forth requirements and restrictions for medical spa ownership, staffing and inspection.” Further, regarding hands-on, didactic training, the Board of Registration recommended, “that the various Boards of Registration establish education and training standards for their licensees desiring to perform medical spa procedures outside their existing scope of experience.”
The medical malpractice insurance industry has become an ally in ensuring trained physicians can properly perform these procedures. Many medical malpractice insurance companies are now requiring physicians not formally trained in aesthetic procedures to attain accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits in aesthetic medicine, before being eligible for favorable insurance coverage.
Jeff Russell applauds these initiatives, which medical insurers and medical regulatory boards are taking. As in Massachusetts, “the IAPAM concurs that all states should enact educational requirements to ensure that all aesthetic practitioners are properly trained in the aesthetic procedures they perform.” This training should include a combination of: didactic instruction, hands-on training, and CME testing. “As well the IAPAM believes that medical spas should be treated as medical facilities and be licensed as such,” says Russell.
Concurrently, there has recently been great discussion regarding the “board certification” of aesthetic medicine. Presentely, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) does not offer a board certification in aesthetic medicine. The ABMS’s position is that “antiaging is not a medical specialty,” and therefore no association or organization can officially be offering “board certification” in aesthetic medicine at this time. “The timing may be right for the ABMS to consider developing a board certification for aesthetic medicine,” says Russell.
In the meantime, leading nonsurgical aesthetic medicine groups like the IAPAM are offering physician members comprehensive didactic and hands-on training with CME educational credits in aesthetic medicine procedures. As an industry leader, the IAPAM’s educational programs are quarterbacked by a fully accredited faculty, including two board certified dermatologists, who are experts in cosmetic injectables and nonsurgical aesthetic medicine treatments.
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