The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) has developed new model legislation aimed at protecting patients seeking aesthetic treatments. The Medical Spa Safety Act outlines the responsibilities of supervising physicians in performing initial patient assessments, obtaining consent and preparing written treatment plans. It would further require providers to wear identification that clearly communicates if they aren’t physicians, verify that the supervising physician has assessed the patient, and notify the medical director and supervising physician of any adverse events or complications.
This is in response to loose regulatory requirements for reporting adverse events and complications, and as a result of an ASDSA patient and physician study published in Dermatologic Surgery (April 2019). The findings revealed that the top procedures for which respondents used non-physician providers were laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. The majority of procedures by non-physicians took place outside a traditional office setting, and burns and discoloration—the most common events reported—occurred at a higher rate than in those who had procedures performed by physicians.
The number of adverse events reported overall was low, but the authors felt the survey indicated potential under-reporting of complications by patients, as evidenced by the higher number of complications ASDSA members reported treating. “Patients believe when they go to a medical spa that physicians are on-site and supervising,” says co-author Anthony M. Rossi, MD. “We believe this legislative model will encourage states to provide medical oversight and inform patients on who is taking care of them.”