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One Week Until The Medical Spa Show in Las Vegas

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 24, 2020

medical spa show

The Medical Spa Show is only a week away, and there’s still time to make your plans to join the more than 1,000 people who have already registered. It takes place from January 31 – February 2, 2020—with Thursday Pre-show Education on January 30—at the Aria Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Regular registration ends on Tuesday, January 28, so if you’re considering attending, make sure to complete your registration by then—the cost for onsite registration is higher than if you register in advance.

The Medical Spa Show features six concurrent tracks of education—including two tracks of sponsored education—and an Expo Hall featuring more than 120 exhibitors demonstrating the medical aesthetic industry’s newest and most exciting products and services. Of course, it also features the industry’s best parties, and it’s a great place to network with fellow medical aesthetic professionals and industry leaders. There's something at the show that will help each member of your team, so bring them all to maximize the show's benefits!

What’s more, AmSpa Members can attend Thursday night’s Members Meeting, sponsored by Allergan—featuring influential, inspirational podcast superstar Cathy Heller—and everyone can come to the Opening Night Party on Friday night. Finally, after the regular show program ends on Sunday, AmSpa will present Live Cadaver Training: Facial Anatomy Course, taught by Jonathan M. Sykes, MD, for an additional fee for Medical Spa Show attendees who wish to learn more about what their injectables are actually doing. (Click here to learn more.)

Be sure to register today to reserve your space in the sessions you want to attend—several sessions are already at capacity, and others are nearing it, so don’t wait! Click here to begin the registration process right now!

We at AmSpa hope to see you in Las Vegas next weekend! It promises to be the biggest, best Medical Spa Show yet!

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends  The Medical Spa Show 2020 

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Credentialing and Creating Your Unique Value Proposition

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

medical spa team

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Prospective patients are buyers who want to know the answer to several questions. What’s in it for me? How do your products or services solve or improve my situation? What specific benefits do you deliver or offer? Why should I choose your practice or provider over another? What differentiates you from the competition?

They want emotional reassurance that they are making the right decision to choose you. They typically have some apprehension that something could go wrong, or questions about how good you are or how much experience you have performing the procedure they want.

Creating a clear, consistent message around your unique value proposition and explaining your credentials can take the guesswork out of promoting your practice and get your entire team on the same page and delivering the same message, further enhancing your brand.

The Importance of Credentialing

In a competitive and commoditized marketplace, credentialing is your time to shine. It is your opportunity to display your knowledge, education and expertise, and why patients should trust you and choose you.

Ideally, this should be apparent on your website. The message should be consistent for your staff answering the phones. They should be able to:

  • Explain the various services and products you offer;
  • Communicate how many years you have been in business, introduce the various providers on your team and describe their level of experience in aesthetics;
  • Confidently explain what makes your practice stand out and unique; and
  • Tell prospective clients what they can expect when they come to your practice—patients buy experiences, not products or services.

Why Credentialing is Often Overlooked

Sometimes my clients feel awkward credentialing because, in some respects, they feel like they are bragging or they don’t want to talk about themselves. Or, they feel like they are too busy to make time for that conversation.

One of the challenges I hear the most consistently when I am conducting sales trainings is, “Terri, we want to do this, but we don’t know what to say. We need a script to follow so we can have a consistent message.”

That’s why I created a step-by-step formula for you to create your own unique value proposition and an exact credentialing script you can tailor to your practice.

Credentialing and Creating your Unique Value Proposition is a tool designed to help market your practice, and you can download it here instantly for only $47.

The Two P’s of Credentialing

There are two aspects of credentialing—credentialing your provider and your practice.

Your team should be able to answer the following questions when communicating information to prospective patients about your provider:

  • Who will be performing the consultations and treatments? Will it be an MD, NP, PA or RN?
  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • How many years in aesthetics?
  • Have they received any special training—PDO, threads, lasers, butt lift, etc.?
  • What range of procedures does the provider perform or specialize in?
  • Are they known as a trainer or educator?
  • Are they recognized by any manufacturer for their volume?
  • Have they been published, or are they a speaker on this procedure?

Your team should be able to answer the following questions when communicating information to prospective patients about your practice:

  • How many years has the practice been in business?
  • How many providers do you have?
  • What is the practice’s specialty or specialties?
  • Is there anything different or special about the practice’s location or environment?
  • Is the practice recognized by any manufacturer for its volume (Diamond, Platinum Plus, etc.)?

By knowing the credentials behind your providers and practice, you are forming the basis for your unique value proposition.

As always, I’m here to help you identify opportunities for growth and put the pieces in place that result in increased revenue, long-term patient retention and a more confident team.

Take the first step today by downloading Credentialing and Creating your Unique Value Proposition here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at terri@terriross.com or call me at (310) 272-5715.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Terri Ross Consulting 

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How to Choose a Business Entity for Your Medical Spa

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 20, 2020

business entities

By Michael S. Byrd, JD, Partner, ByrdAdatto

Choosing an entity for your business can be overwhelming. Clients often seek ByrdAdatto’s advice, confused by the choices and the process. From partnerships, sole proprietorships and corporations to limited liability companies (LLCs), each entity offers advantages and disadvantages, depending on your unique business model.

Choosing an entity should be informed by your current business strategy, in conjunction with your vision for the company for the future. Among other things, the choice of entity can affect tax structure, capital raising, initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and distribution structure.

While forming an entity without strategic thought and input stems could potentially cause you to choose the wrong structure, tactical mistakes often are made in the formation process. Many clients don’t realize that there actually are two separate filings to consider: first with the state, and second with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Filing With the State

State filings are nuanced and often dependent on options available in a specific state. Entities owned by a professional requiring licensing—by the state or other jurisdiction—may have more limited options. For example, in California, a medical practice must file as a corporation, and may be required to file additional documents with the state’s medical board. Otherwise, professional entity choices can include:

  • Professional corporation (PC);
  • Professional medical corporation (PMC);
  • Service corporation (SC);
  • Professional association (PA);
  • Professional limited liability company (PLLC);
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP); and
  • Unincorporated sole proprietorship.

Overall, LLCs—and their professional counterparts, PLLCs—are the most commonly formed entities. An LLC is flexible and can be customized to different business models, while also leaving open a menu of tax options. In circling back to the strategy and vision considerations, the LLC’s flexibility tends to be a great starting point when the vision for the business is uncertain.

The corporation as an entity choice has its place in more complicated businesses that raise outside funding from private equity or have a plan to become a publicly traded company.

Filing With the IRS

We stress to clients that an entity choice at the state level dictates your choices with the IRS, and thus how you will be taxed. For example, filing as a corporation limits your choices with the IRS to either a C-corp or an S-corp. If you form a partnership (limited, general or limited liability), your choices with the IRS will be limited to a partnership. The popularity of the LLC for tax election with the IRS again rests with its flexibility. An LLC can choose to be taxed as a corporation (C-corp or S-corp), a partnership (as long as there is more than one owner) or a disregarded entity (if there is one owner).

There are many pitfalls to avoid and variables to consider in choosing the right corporate entity for your business. At ByrdAdatto, we advocate simplification. Much like reducing a fraction to its lowest common denominator, we aim to provide simple solutions on complicated topics.

AmSpa members receive a complimentary 20-minute Introductory Compliance Assessment with a ByrdAdatto attorney. Click here to learn how to join AmSpa today!

With his background as both a litigator and transactional attorney, Michael Byrd brings a comprehensive perspective to business and health care issues. He has been named to Texas Rising Stars and Texas Super Lawyers, published by Thompson Reuters, for multiple years (2009-2018) and recognized as a Best Lawyer in Dallas by D Magazine (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018). He routinely lectures at continuing medical education seminars on the various business and legal issues that medical professionals face.

Tags:  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law 

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How the Liability Insurance Market Can Affect Your Medical Spa in 2020

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 17, 2020

insurance

By Edward Kuhn, Liability Specialist, Wellness Medical Protection Group

Insurance buying for the medical spa professional requires a certain level of technical sophistication and understanding of the marketplace and product. The coverage and rated-up annual premium are always tied to the procedures and the size and scope of the practice. Insurance is driven by the market, and the current state of the market is changing for a number of reasons.

We all know the medical spa market is expanding at a rapid pace, and insurance underwriters are challenged to maintain coverage relative to the growth in new treatments and procedures. The expansion and maturing of the marketplace is causing claims development from quality control issues; patient expectations; suppliers having FDA problems; and cutting-edge procedures such as stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and skin procedures involving heat and pain. The personal injury attorneys are following the money, specifically with regards to medical weight loss, stem cells, laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation, and hormone replacement.

Patients expectations are different for elective, cosmetic and anti-aging procedures than they are for disease-focused medicine where there is third-party reimbursement. As a result, underwriters are scrutinizing the applications and operations of medical spas more closely—asking more questions, mandating the use of signed patient informed consent forms and requiring evidence of certified training. Your claim will be denied if you don’t produce a signed patient informed consent form for the procedure in question, as well as evidence that the provider in question has certified training in the procedure that is the subject of the alleged medical negligence.

Insurance is a function of the money coming in as fast as it goes out, or the result is an underwriting loss, after which rates increase and applications come under more underwriting scrutiny. Your premium is determined more by what you do (class), not so much by how you perform. Medical spa liability insurance policies predominantly are claims-made, surplus lines specialty underwritten policies from “A” rated and financially strong insurance companies. The rates and forms can change from year to year to adjust to the market changes. Rates usually are tied to some quantifiable measure, such as the size of revenues, number of procedures and patient visits. You could see your rates increase 30% for class alone, which means the companies are collectively losing money this year in that class and need to raise rates to compensate.

insurance information

What is Happening in the Medical Spa Liability Insurance Market?

Annual premium rates are on the rise, as is the scrutiny of medical spa practices. Be prepared to address this effectively with your insurance agent or broker. If you have a long period of clear operation—perhaps you have been covered for more than 10 years—you have the benefit being a known quantity. However, this can’t be used as leverage to get a lower premium from another company, like before—shopping your coverage is not that effective anymore.

Here are a few other trends you should know about in the industry:

  • An increase in overall claims for medical malpractice class in general;
  • An increase in minimum premiums and base rates as companies make adjustments, especially for certain procedures;
  • Claims development in certain procedures, including stem cell therapy, lasers, PRP, hormone replacement therapy and more;
  • A 20 – 50% increase in renewal pricing;
  • More rigid underwriting and a decrease in the limits of liability for procedures such as stem cell therapy and PRP; and
  • Claims exclusions for lack of evidence of certified procedure training or signed patient consent forms.

How Can You Manage Your Liability?

Repeating the need for some technical sophistication, it’s important to concentrate on the quality and the utilization of acceptable standards and best practices to minimize your liability as a med spa business owner. Here is a brief list of some of the main elements you can address:

  • Certified training in procedures and qualified personnel;
  • Understanding insurance is market driven and rates can change—work closely with your agent to navigate through the ups and downs;
  • Effective informed patient consent, documentation and quality control;
  • Seeking help from industry partners and associations, such as AmSpa;
  • Have a policy for properly handling disgruntled patients or bad outcomes;
  • Ensure the reputation and credibility of compound pharmacy, vendors and suppliers;
  • Manage expectations and presentation on results; if you don’t, you may receive board complaints; and
  • Refrain from making outrageous claims of results or guarantees.

These should already be integrated into your medical spa practice, with special emphasis on certified training for all procedures and effective patient informed consent. Remember, you buy insurance for protection, because even with all these measures in place, risk is inherent in what you do in any business.

Edward Kuhn began his insurance career in 1991 with the Evanston Insurance Company; he was involved in insurance accounting, broking and underwriting. In 2001, he started Liability Insurance Solutions as a specialty niche insurance broker. In 2014, he merged with the RXNB Companies to start Wellness Medical Protection Group.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Guest Post  Insurance 

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Hyaluronic Injection Pens: What You Need to Know

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

hyaluronic acid

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

 In the past several months, you may have noticed an explosion of ads, social media posts, articles, videos and training events talking about an “incredible” new injection device that can place hyaluronic acid filler in the skin without using a needle. These devices are often marketed as “non-invasive” or “non-medical,” using names such as “hyaluron pen” or “hyaluronic acid atomizer.”

However, make no mistake—just because they do not have needles does not mean these products are not medical devices or that they can be used without risk. On September 13, 2019, the Canadian Department of Health issued a warning regarding these devices. It stated these injectors pose health risks and are not authorized for sale in Canada. In the U.S., while no state has publicly commented on these devices yet, “administering medication,” no matter the method used, is part of the definition of each state’s “practice of medicine.” Therefore, these needle-free injection devices should be treated the same as traditional syringes. People wanting to perform these treatments still need to have the same type of professional license they would need to inject using a needle and syringe, and they will still need to work under the supervision of a physician or another appropriate professional.

No Needle, No Problem?

Needle-free injection devices generally are used to deliver vaccines and medications either intramuscularly or subcutaneously, similar to a traditional needle and syringe. They work by creating a very narrow high-pressure jet of medication that is able to penetrate the skin; the jet is generated using gas or spring pressure to force the medicine through a small opening in a disposable vial. The benefits claimed include lower chances of cross-contamination, reduced needle-stick injuries, and less sharp medical waste. This makes these devices particularly well suited for inoculation campaigns, clinics and home self-administration of insulin or other medication.

Medical devices and substances may not be marketed in the United States without obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. FDA approved or classified devices may be marketed only for their approved use. For FDA registration, needle-free or jet devices fall into three broad groups:

  1. General-purpose injection devices meant to be used for injecting drugs that work in needle-free systems;
  2. Devices meant for a certain class of drugs, such as insulin, or use with a specific manufacturer’s specific product line—both of these groups are considered class II medical devices; and
  3. Devices intended to be marketed with a specific product, either labeled for use or sold together, and therefore treated as a combination device.

The first and second group of injectors are regulated using the premarket notification process under the 510(k) provision. These premarket notifications are granted when a new device is substantially similar to an existing approved device, and they allow the manufacturer to begin marketing the product while it complies with the more lengthy registration and approval process. In order to be cleared in this process, at least one drug or injectable substance must already be approved for this method of injection.

A number of needle-free and jet injectors have these filed premarket notifications with FDA; however, none of the “hyaluronic pens” currently on the market appear to correspond with any of these premarket notifications or be from manufacturers who have applied for one. Additionally, FDA has approved a number of hyaluronic acid-based fillers for injection using the traditional needle and syringe method. Thus far, no hyaluronic acid fillers have been approved for use in needle-free injectors. So, any pen injector under the premarket category would need to be compatible with an approved substance other than hyaluronic acid, and, once approved, could not be marketed for use with hyaluronic acid-based fillers.

The majority of the hyaluronic pens currently listed online are packaged with a supply of hyaluronic acid, which would most likely place them in the third category. Devices in this category are considered combination products and can be marketed for that specific use and product after approval. It does not appear that any of the currently marketed “hyaluronic pens” have any FDA approval for their use as Class II devices meant for general injections, and certainly not specifically for using hyaluronic acid.

On the Up-and-up

While no needle-free devices have been approved for hyaluronic acid, several needle-free injection devices have received FDA approval for use with specific drugs, which is something a properly marketed hyaluronic filler device would need to receive. For example, in 2014, a needle-free injector manufactured by PharmaJet and Seqirus Pty. Ltd.—manufacturer of the influenza vaccine Afluria—received approval to administer the Afluria vaccine using the PharmaJet Stratis injector for patients from 18 to 64 years old. FDA made clear, however, that it still recommends sterile needles and syringes for other vaccines and for patients younger than 18 and older than 64.

FDA approvals for both injectable drugs and injection devices are narrow and specific. In the above example, a pediatric office would be in violation if it advertised this service to its patients, since using it on those under 18 is not approved.

Many of these devices are marketed for at-home personal use and can be purchased through several online retailers. Some issues with the marketing of these devices are discussed above, but there are other issues for those who want to use these devices at home.

Safe and Sound

Surprisingly, there are relatively few legal issues for those wanting to treat themselves. While hyaluronic pens can’t legally be sold, they can be possessed for personal or non-medical use. Furthermore, people are generally free to do things for themselves that would normally require a professional license if performed by another—you can cut your own hair without a barber’s license, you can write your own contracts without a law license, and you can treat your fever without being a doctor. Similarly, someone can possess a jet injector for their personal use, as well as possess syringes and scalpels if they so choose. It is worth noting, however, that in some states, possessing prescription drugs and substances—such as injectable hyaluronic acid—without a prescription is prohibited. And offering to perform these treatments on others is considered the practice of medicine without a license.

From a practical standpoint, people should think carefully before choosing to perform medical procedures on themselves. The jet injectors being sold are not designed for this use—they appear to be rebranded and repurposed injectors that are not approved in the U.S. The hyaluronic acid fillers sold with them and available online also are not approved for injection into humans and often are of unknown sterility, safety or quality.

Additionally, much like the concept of “cutting hair,” the concept of using the pen injector sounds very simple. However, just as successfully giving yourself a haircut is far more complex than it seems, performing injections on yourself more complicated than it might appear. Those wanting to perform these treatments should first discuss the risks and potential complications—such as infection, contamination or vascular occlusion—with their physician.

Professional Considerations

Medical aesthetics professionals may be interested in bringing needle-free devices into their medical spa practice. This creates its own set of questions—namely, can you? And should you? Licensed health care professionals can be subject to professional penalties and discipline on their license if they are found to be using non-FDA-approved medication or devices. However, physicians generally are able to use otherwise-approved devices and drugs in ways that are not yet approved by the FDA. This is commonly known as “off-label use,” and it is the source of a great deal of innovation and advancement in the medical field. However, physicians are not allowed to advertise and promote off-label uses. Additionally, using unapproved devices in an unapproved way can create standard-of-care and liability issues for the practitioner if the patient experiences an adverse outcome.

So, while it would not be advisable for a nurse or physician to purchase one of these unapproved, illegally marketed devices off eBay, for example, a physician could take an FDA-approved needle-free injector and repurpose it for injecting FDA-approved fillers, so long as they did not market or advertise this practice. The question then becomes—does it make sense to do this? Do such devices bring additional capabilities over the current syringe-and-needle techniques?

While many of the approved devices allow for the dosage per “firing” to be metered, it does not appear that the placement of the medication can be done as precisely as using a syringe and needle—there is no way to ensure that the filler is injected in the precise location or depth, or in the amount desired. According to studies conducted by jet injector manufacturers, the amount of the drug that is actually delivered and the precise location of delivery can vary from injection to injection. The depth and penetration also can be influenced by tissue density, the angle of the injector to the skin, and the pressure applied against the skin prior to firing.

While these variables can be within acceptable limits for administering vaccines and medicine, would they be acceptable for cosmetic treatments on someone’s lips or face? Additionally, in the FDA’s Afluria/PharmaJet announcement on August 15, 2014, both the study performed for the approval and two prior needle-free injector studies (Jackson et. al. Vaccine 2001, Simon et. al. Vaccine 2011) found that needle-free injections had a higher rate of pain, redness and swelling at the injection site than those who received traditional hypodermic injections. Newer devices may remedy some of these issues, but any licensed practitioner should carefully consider the pros and cons before integrating this off-label use into their practice.

Taking Your Chances

The current crop of “hyaluronic pen” devices that are unscrupulously and illegally being marketed to the public create many issues, even beyond their lack of FDA approval. The public should be extremely wary about using these devices, and under no circumstances should anyone perform this treatment—or any other cosmetic injectable—unless they hold an appropriate health care professional license or are working under the supervision of a physician. Licensed health care professionals should educate their patients about the risks of these at-home, unapproved products and should always carefully consider the benefits of adding a new or novel treatment to their practice.

Tags:  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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LAST CHANCE! Book a Room at the Vdara Hotel & Spa as Part of the MSS Room Block TODAY!

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 13, 2020

vdara

The Medical Spa Show—which takes place January 31 – February 2, 2020, at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas—is the premier conference and trade show for noninvasive medical aesthetics, and if you’re planning to attend, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Unfortunately, finding a hotel room in Las Vegas for that weekend is becoming more difficult by the day. In fact, The Medical Spa Show’s original room block at the Aria sold out before it closed.

However, AmSpa has been able to secure an additional room block at the nearby Vdara Hotel & Spa. This block closes at 5pm Central today and definitely will be the final room block offered for The Medical Spa Show. If you want to attend but haven’t yet solidified your plans, you need to register and book your room today to take advantage of this offer.

The Vdara Hotel & Spa is located just across Harmon Avenue from the Aria, and is connected to the Aria via the ARIA Express Tram, which runs from 8am to 4am daily; the ARIA Express Tram is on an elevated electronic track that connects the Aria, the Bellagio, the Vdara, the Park MGM and The Shops at Crystals.

Hotel rooms in Las Vegas are selling out over Medical Spa Show weekend—which also happens to be Super Bowl weekend—and this offer allows show attendees to secure a luxurious room at a great price.

Again, this is your last chance to book a room through a Medical Spa Show room block. After the room block closes at 5pm Central, there will be no further accommodations offered in conjunction with the show.

After you register for the show, you’ll receive the link to book in this limited block in your confirmation email; if you have already registered and still need a room, log into your account and book your room from there.

Tags:  The Medical Spa Show 2020 

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How to Conduct a Practice Assessment for Your Medical Spa

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 10, 2020

assessment

By Jay Reyero, JD, Partner, ByrdAdatto

We are all familiar with New Year’s resolutions. At the end of each year, we conduct a self-assessment and set goals for ourselves heading into the new year. Slowly—or in some cases, on the first day—we drift away from those goals only to repeat the cycle at the end of the year and the beginning of the next. Similarly, businesses can find themselves drifting away from goals or compliance standards over the course of the year. In preparing for a new year, medical providers should conduct a self-assessment in the form of a practice assessment.

Gathering all the documentation and information you wish to analyze is the starting point of any practice assessment. In setting the scope of the assessment, you should start with documentation from the following four areas:

  1. Corporate documents;
  2. Financials;
  3. Staffing; and 
  4. Policies and Procedures.

Once these are gathered, you can begin the assessment by identifying whether anything is missing or conflicts with how things are or are believed to be with your business. The hope, though, is that you confirm everything remains aligned.

It also is important to remember that a practice assessment should include analysis by each member of your advisory team. In addition to legal counsel, you should include your CPA, tax advisor and financial advisor for their respective perspectives. Once again, all aspects of your business should be aligned to prevent any issues.

Finally, like New Year’s resolutions, a practice assessment should be an annual tradition. Compliance is not static, and health care is constantly changing, so you need to ensure your business doesn’t fall out of compliance. Unlike the New Year’s resolutions, hopefully your compliance can last longer than a day.

AmSpa members receive a complimentary 20-minute Introductory Compliance Assessment with a ByrdAdatto attorney. Click here to learn how to join AmSpa today!

Jay Reyero, JD, is a partner at the business, health care, and aesthetic law firm of ByrdAdatto. He has a background as both a litigator and transactional attorney, bringing a unique and balanced perspective to the firm’s clients. His health care and regulatory expertise involves the counseling and advising of physicians, physician groups, other medical service providers and non-professionals. His specific areas of expertise include federal and state health care regulations and how they impact investments, transactions and various contractual arrangements, particularly in the areas of federal and state anti-referral, anti-kickback and HIPAA compliance.

Tags:  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law 

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4 Critical Elements for Converting Web Leads into Consultations

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

receptionist

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

I’d like you to think about a few important questions:

  • What percentage of your leads are coming from your website?
  • Do you track these leads?
  • How quickly do you respond to inquiries?
  • Do you have a clear, concise process for follow-up?
  • Do you have a dedicated person on staff to handle this?

If you answered “I don’t know” or “no” to any of these, don’t worry—I’m here to help you create a game plan to more effectively convert your web leads into new business.

Did you know that the average aesthetics practice generates 52% of its leads from its website? That is larger than patient referrals, social media, other physicians, referral sites and traditional marketing combined. If you don’t have a carefully thought-out plan, process and practice in place to track and convert these leads, you are leaving money on the table.

Website leads are generally “cold” leads, which means the prospect typically:

  • Is highly cost-conscious;
  • Was not referred by anyone;
  • Found you with an online search; and/or
  • Has some anxiety about results, downtime, pain, recovery, anesthesia, etc.

It is challenging to convert cold leads, as you must be able to quickly respond and clearly communicate your practice’s unique value proposition (UVP).

1. Timing

Web leads are seven times more likely to convert to sales if you respond to them within an hour of contact. If they are looking at your practice online, no doubt they are contacting others as well.

If there is someone within your practice who is able to monitor web leads in real time when they come in (whether it is your front desk administrator, patient care coordinator or office manager), that is the optimal way to ensure you have high conversion rates.

All leads should be entered into your patient management software, and the prospect should be contacted within an hour via:

  1. A call;
  2. An email; and then
  3. A text message.

(Note: Do not leave a detailed message on an answering machine regarding what the prospect called about, as that can be sensitive information.)

If you are unable to reach the prospect, follow up again in 48 hours with a phone call, then an email and then a text. Finally, seven days later, make a final attempt to follow up with a call, then an email and then a text. After that point, you can simply keep their information for your mailing list for upcoming newsletters or promotions.

2. Information Gathering

I cannot stress the importance of information gathering highly enough. Taking the time to input the following information into your software can be the difference between an average follow-up call and one that converts a lead into a paid consultation:

  • Date of initial inquiry;
  • Referral source;
  • Patient demographics;
  • Areas of interest or concerns;
  • Interest level if indicated (immediate, moderate or just gathering information);
  • Date of first patient contact; and
  • Follow-up data.

3. Automated Email

If it is not possible to have a designated staff member monitoring your incoming web inquiries in real time, someone on your staff should be checking on these leads several times a day.

It’s very important to have an automated response email that generates when someone submits a web inquiry. This email should be both friendly and informative, welcoming them to your practice and assuring them that someone will follow up with them within 24 hours.

4. Follow-up Email Etiquette

If a prospect is unable to be reached by phone, the next step is to send a personalized follow-up email. Here are my best practices for follow-up email etiquette:

  • Personalize each email by using address headers with a specific name field rather than keeping it general. This adds a personal touch.
  • Use business etiquette. Be professional and not too casual in both the greeting and the closing. Ensure proper grammar and spelling.
  • Ensure privacy by using a general subject line like “An important message from Dr. XYZ.” Use a “hook” that gives them a reason to open the email.
  • Introduce yourself. Tell the prospect who you are, what you do and what your UVP is. Give your credentials, the details of your staff and what makes your practice stand out from others.
  • Answer the specific question that addresses the prospective patient’s inquiry or provide additional resources. Link to a specific page on your website, procedure information, a brochure or a video about your practice.
  • Remember to include a privacy notice at the bottom of the email.
  • Have a strong call to action asking your patient to schedule a consultation or appointment, along with your hours, phone number and fees.

Remember, I’m here to help you make your practice thrive. If you would like to schedule a call to see how I can train your team to generate more revenue for your practice, please click here.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Is It Legal to Practice as a Medical Aesthetician?

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 6, 2020

aesthetician

By Sam Pondrom, JD, Associate, ByrdAdatto

Fake or Real: I am licensed as a medical aesthetician.

Fake! Aestheticians must practice within the state-promulgated scope of practice and only use titles authorized by their license.

To determine their scope of practice, an aesthetician should look to three places:

  1. The state laws defining aestheticians’ scopes of practice;
  2. Any rulings or opinions issued by the aesthetician’s licensing board addressing scope of practice or ability to accept delegation from medical practitioners; and
  3. As it pertains to medical services, the supervision and delegation rules applicable to physicians.

The confusion about the existence of medical aestheticians arises from situations where state-licensed aestheticians have obtained additional education, training, certification and experience, or “competence.” These aestheticians who have sought out and acquired additional competence often believe that they have expanded their scope of practice, meaning they may:

  • Perform tasks or accept delegated tasks normally outside of their scope of practice; and/or
  • Perform delegated tasks with less supervision than a standard aesthetician.

However, this is not necessarily true.

The most important thing to understand about aestheticians is that they are creatures of state law. They must obtain a license from the state(s) in which they practice, typically from the state board of cosmetology. These state cosmetology boards have promulgated regulations and rules that determine licensure requirements, scopes of practice and approved titles. The aesthetician license issued by a state board only allows aestheticians to perform work within the prescribed scope of practice and use the approved title. By designating oneself a medical aesthetician, an aesthetician can be viewed as unilaterally expanding their scope of practice or adopting a new title—or both. These actions may subject an aesthetician to disciplinary action from the cosmetology board.

Complicating this further is that state cosmetology boards have no jurisdiction over the practice of medicine. By adding the term “medical,” aestheticians create another issue for themselves with state medical boards. Generally, when state law defines the practice of medicine with the goal of reserving that practice to appropriately licensed persons such as physicians, they include language protecting the use of titles and descriptors that would lead the general public to believe a person is licensed to practice medicine. Thus, if an aesthetician describes themselves as a medical aesthetician or expands their scope of practice to include services considered the practice of medicine—or both—they may be violating their state’s prohibition on practicing medicine without a license.

Often, we find aestheticians have spent their own time and money on courses that purport to train them to be medical aestheticians, but it is important to consider the source of the training. A quick Google search for “medical aesthetician course” returns many results. But if you look at the course information provided by a company offering medical esthetician classes, you almost always will find some variation of a disclaimer that says aestheticians must look to the law of the state that licensed them for the rules and regulations on their practice.  This means that regardless of what the coursework purports to teach (e.g. lasers, injectables, dermabrasion, etc.), you can only perform the functions allowed by your state’s laws.

We do want to clarify that the point of this post is not to discourage aestheticians—or any licensees—from obtaining education, training and certification to expand their knowledge base. Rather, aestheticians must take the time to fully understand their scope of practice and ability to accept delegated medical services before investing time and money on medical aesthetician classes. Moreover, aestheticians must understand that by advertising themselves as medical aestheticians, they can expose themselves to some level of additional risk.

AmSpa members receive a complimentary 20-minute Introductory Compliance Assessment with a ByrdAdatto attorney. Click here to learn how to join AmSpa today!

As the youngest of three brothers, Sam Pondrom learned early on how to work effectively as part of a team. After graduating from Oklahoma State, an intrinsic sense of curiosity and a keen eye for details led Sam to work as an accountant for two Engineering-News Record top 40 construction firms. It was here where he honed his ability to analyze complex issues and craft clear, concise answers. Sam utilizes these skills to work in partnership with our clients to resolve their complex business and regulatory concerns in the most simple, straightforward way.

Tags:  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law 

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Marketing vs. Laws: Tips That Might Land You in Hot Water

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 3, 2020

marketing

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

In the medical aesthetic industry, marketing is a bit more difficult than in other retail segments. It might seem to make sense for a medical aesthetic facility, medical spa or laser clinic to invest in a flashy ad campaign, complete with lavish praise from patients and offers of discounts; however, going down this path may attract the attention of not only prospective clients, but also state regulators. Here are some ways medical aesthetic practices get in trouble with their marketing efforts, as well as some ways to conduct compliant advertising campaigns.

Understanding the Rules

Even though medical aesthetic businesses tend to engage in the same marketing techniques as other retail businesses—including websites, social media and print advertising—it is important that their owners and operators remember that these practices are, above all, medical practices. And because they are medical in nature, they are subject to the same rules and regulations that govern other, more traditional medical institutions, such as doctor’s offices and hospitals.

Because of this, the ways that a medical aesthetic practice can advertise are very restrictive. The specifics of these restrictions vary from state to state, but they all tend to revolve around the notion that medical care is something that people need rather than choose to indulge in, so any advertising for medical facilities should deal only in facts.

This idea was obviously conceived with traditional medical outlets in mind. For them, the practice of medicine should not be about making money—it should be treating patients in need in their best interest. With this idea in mind, an advertisement for a physician’s services is expected to convey that the physician is an MD, highlight his or her specializations and board certifications, and reveal his or her pricing in an honest and straightforward manner. Furthermore, physicians cannot make grandiose claims of life-changing results or claims of professional superiority—they must only deal in facts.

Of course, medical aesthetic practices are not traditional medical practices, and these somewhat high-minded ideals would seem to run counter to their goals. Medical aesthetic practices deal exclusively in elective procedures and, therefore, may be tempted to make certain claims in order to convince people to choose them over their competitors. However, because medical aesthetic practices are medical practices (it is right there in the name), they must still abide by the rules that govern medical advertising—they must be totally honest.

  • They must specify who is performing medical treatments and what their qualifications are;
  • They must present their pricing in a straightforward manner; and
  • They must not attempt to compare themselves to competitors.

Therefore, if a medical aesthetic practice’s advertising includes words such as “best,” “greatest” or “amazing,” that facility is likely in violation of its state’s medical advertising statutes. A medical spa may operate like a retail outlet, but it cannot advertise itself like one.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if a practice is owned or co-owned by someone who is not a physician—a nurse, nurse practitioner, or entrepreneur, for example—it must make clear in its advertising that it is a physician who is advertising for medical services. For example, if a salon owner contracts with a physician to administer Botox treatments at his or her facility, the salon cannot advertise that it is offering Botox injections—it must specify that the physician is providing that service.

Websites are typically where issues regarding these types of distinctions are found. Many medical aesthetic practice websites state that their treatments are provided by “licensed laser technicians” or “medical aestheticians.” Unfortunately, in most states there are no actual laser certifications, and under no circumstances is any aesthetician permitted to perform medical procedures. The presence of titles such as these on a practice’s website implies that the facility is not structured properly, and it calls into question the credibility of the physician or physicians who are supposed to be overseeing the medical aspects of the practice.

Employees of state regulatory agencies—which are almost always underfunded and understaffed—often simply browse the websites of medical aesthetic practices to determine which of these businesses should be investigated. Using terms such as the ones mentioned above on your website is a good way to attract unwanted attention from regulators, regardless of whether or not your employee swears that he or she is a medical aesthetician. If you distribute advertising materials using these titles, whether online or via other channels, your chances of being investigated are better still.

If a practice is found to be in violation of state regulations regarding medical advertising, it can incur severe financial penalties, and its physicians may even be subject to the suspension or revocation of their licenses. Regulatory agencies take issues such as these—which can rise to the level of “practicing medicine without a license”—extremely seriously.

The bottom line for owners and operators of medical aesthetic practices is that their advertising is under a great deal of scrutiny—far more than they may think. The requirements for medical advertising vary from state to state, so it is important to consult a health care attorney who is familiar with the regulations that govern medical advertising in your state before launching a marketing campaign in order to learn what is and is not legal. (Author’s note: AmSpa works with ByrdAdatto, a national law firm that focuses on medical aesthetic legalities, and as a member, you receive a discount off of your initial consultation, along with a number of other great benefits.)

How to Use Testimonials

If a patient of your medical aesthetic practice is over the moon about an experience there, you may be inclined to ask him or her to provide a testimonial that can be used for marketing purposes. However, there are limitations to the ways in which patient testimonials can be used in advertising for health care providers and, for reasons we’ve previously discussed, medical aesthetic practices must also abide by those rules.

Generally speaking, most states forbid hyperbolic testimonials that use statements such as, “Dr. Brown is the best doctor in the city!” As previously established, advertising for medical institutions must be based on facts, experience and credentials, so medical spa owners and operators must make sure that the testimonials they use are factually correct and address only the customer’s experience with the practice he or she is endorsing.

It is also important that you obtain proper consent from your patients before you post or distribute their testimonials. Even though the patients’ participation may seem to represent tacit consent, you must still go through proper channels to make sure that you are not opening yourself up to patient privacy issues. After all, acknowledging that a patient enjoyed a visit to your facility intrinsically reveals that he or she is your patient, which is a HIPAA violation. Again, speak with a knowledgeable health care attorney to learn what you are required to do to remain compliant when using testimonials.

Mind Your Business Partners

If a medical aesthetic practice is marketing its services via deal websites such as Groupon (which is of questionable legality in the first place—again, consult with your health care attorney before launching such a campaign to determine if it is allowed in your state), it should make sure that everything posted on those sites and disseminated via email by those outlets conforms to the rules of health care advertising previously discussed. These sites sometimes create their own copy and distribute it without running it by the client first. Regardless of whether or not it produced the copy, your practice would be the one facing blowback from state regulatory agencies, so make sure that you see everything associated with your practice before it is posted or sent.

Don’t Offer Incentives for Referrals

A medical spa operator may be inclined to create a promotion that offers, say, 50% off a Restylane treatment if you refer a friend to the practice. Although it might be perfectly fine for a salon or a traditional spa to offer such a deal on a facial, a medical practice making such an offer is essentially telling the world that it is giving monetary value for referrals, which is potentially a direct violation of local anti-kickback or patient solicitation statutes. Laws regarding kickbacks vary from state to state, but most states with powerful, influential medical boards consider such promotions to represent kickbacks. For the same reason, it’s generally a bad idea to offer gift cards in exchange for referrals.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Medical aesthetic practices must use a great deal of caution when conducting marketing campaigns. If a medical spa’s ad campaign is properly executed, it can be very effective; however, the practice must be very careful about what it says and what its patients say about it so that it does not run afoul of the strict statutes and regulations that govern medical advertising.

For legal updates and business best practices delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to AmSpa’s email newsletter. For more information on how AmSpa can help your practice operate legally and profitably, contact us online or call us at 312-981-0993.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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