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Tips to Weather a Turbulent Stock Market

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 20, 2020

stock market crash

By GCG Financial

With the recent market volatility, it’s understandable that you may be concerned about your investments. Volatile markets can make you wonder if you’re on track to meet your retirement goals. Don’t be discouraged, and most of all, don’t panic. Instead, be proactive. Consider the following steps you should be taking in both up and down markets:

  • Review your portfolio. Know your investment mix and be sure you are invested in the appropriate asset classes (based on your risk tolerance and time horizon to retirement). Times like these reinforce the need to diversify. (While diversification does not guarantee against loss of principal, it can help spread your risk among different asset classes and market segments.)
  • Check your contribution rate. How much you contribute each month can directly impact how much you will have at retirement. Have you done a retirement needs calculation? Do you know how much you should be contributing each month to reach your goal? Are you increasing that amount each year or more often based on your income and age?
  • Rebalance. This will readjust your portfolio back to your original investment strategy, attempting to “sell high and buy low.” Essentially, when you rebalance, you tend to sell some appreciated assets and purchase others with lower valuations. Regular rebalancing (at least once a year, as a rule of thumb) may increase the overall return of your portfolio over time.
  • Consult with a professional. Don’t go it alone. Financial planning resources are available through a retirement plan advisor.

Remember, staying invested in times of market turbulence will help you participate fully in potential market gains. While there is never any certainty in the market, it is worth noting that some of the sharpest market declines were followed by steep rebounds. History has taught us that volatility is to be expected. The implications surrounding the current turmoil should call on plan participants to focus on what they should otherwise be doing on a regular basis.

This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor. Investing involves risk, including risk of loss. Stock markets are volatile and can decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market or economic developments. Advisory Services offered through Alera Investment Advisors, LLC. Securities offered through Triad Advisors, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Alera Group, Inc. GCG Financial, LLC, and Alera Investment Advisors, LLC are not affiliated with Triad Advisors, LLC.

Since 1975, GCG Financial, LLC, has been a trusted partner for its clients. Its mission is to enhance the financial security of the businesses and families it serves, through employee benefits, risk management and wealth management solutions.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19 

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States Adjust Unemployment Requirements in Face of COVID-19

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 20, 2020

state legislature

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, multiple states have adopted emergency rules relaxing many of the requirements needed to apply for unemployment, allowing more flexibility for employers and jobseekers. Here are several states that have made changes. Not all states are listed so if you do not see your state below, reach out to your workforce commission for details. New aid packages and rules are coming in daily, so if you have been affected by this pandemic, check back frequently with your state and watch the news for additional information.

  • Washington: Washington state has adopted emergency rules that allow workers who are mildly ill with COVID-19, are quarantined due to exposure or are immunocompromised, or are caring for a family member to be eligible for unemployment insurance. Under the normal rules, these people would not be able to apply. The Employment Security Department has a helpful chart here and provides an information page here.
  • New Hampshire: New Hampshire has expanded eligibility to persons under quarantine, those caring for quarantined family members and those whose employment has been disrupted by school closures. You can find more information here.
  • Ohio: By executive order, Ohio has opened unemployment benefits to people who have been requested to self-isolate, and the normal waiting period for eligibility is waived. To help employers, any unemployment claim during this declared emergency is mutualized among contributory employers. Information on Ohio unemployment coverage is available here.
  • Texas: So far, Texas has not made any large changes, but it has waived its work search requirement and one-week waiting period; you can learn more here. However, Governor Greg Abbott has ordered bars and restaurants closed across the state beginning midnight Friday, so additional changes may be forthcoming.
  • California: California has not made major changes to its benefit programs in light of COVID-19, but its programs were fairly comprehensive prior to the crisis. Workers who fall ill or are quarantined and are unable to work can file a disability insurance claim. By executive order, the one-week unpaid waiting period has been waived. Workers can file a Paid Family Leave claim if they miss work due to caring for a family member. Also, missed work due to a child’s school being closed is treated as an unemployment insurance claim on a case-by-case basis. Here is a helpful resource put together by the state.
  • New York: New York state has waived its seven-day unpaid waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor requires that businesses provide notice prior to closing or layoffs and offers some alternatives to layoffs. Here is a helpful information resource put together by the state’s Office of Emergency Management.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has suspended its waiting week and work search requirements for unemployment insurance. You also can apply if you employer tells you to stay home for fear of spreading or contracting the disease, in addition to reduced hours or job loss because of the ongoing crisis. Here is a useful information page.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts has excused and extended deadlines for both employers and jobseekers concerning unemployment claims. Additionally, work search requirements have been altered to favor paying benefits, and seminars are suspended. More information is available here.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Law 

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Letter from the CEO: It’s Time for All Medical Spas to Close

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 19, 2020

business closing

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

Like all of you, the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) team has been closely monitoring the developments surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

Although the lack of testing and complete information has made it difficult for governmental leaders to come to any sort of consensus, the scientific community has been very consistent in its position that drastic and immediate action is needed.

In order to contain this outbreak – and, more importantly, to shorten the timeline of economic hardship to all – nearly every epidemiologist, infection specialist, and researcher has made the same recommendation: all elective surgeries and non-essential medical procedures that can be delayed, should be delayed. It is the recommendation of the U.S. Surgeon General, the American College of Surgeons, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force that all non-essential medical procedures be postponed. Many cities and states are taking this stance, as well.

Accordingly, it is AmSpa’s strong recommendation that all medical spas close their doors and refrain from offering any elective procedures for at least the next 30 days, or until further notice. Although this will be a difficult time for us all, AmSpa strongly encourages its members and the industry at large to heed this advice.

These are difficult times for all of us, and unfortunately, difficult times result in leaders having to make difficult decisions. This is one of those times. Closing your business can have devastating consequences, even for a week, let alone 30 days. We at AmSpa understand that, and, as a small business, we’re living it, too. Our livelihoods are at stake here, and the decision to recommend that members shut down – let alone having to actually do it – is a painful one. We understand what this means for all of you, and the gravity of this recommendation for the entire industry is not lost on us.

I strongly believe, however, that the medical aesthetics industry will all pull through this, but not without help, both from others in the industry and from outside agencies. AmSpa is committed to providing as much support, influence, and information as we can to help each of you through this difficult time. To ensure our industry’s continuing viability, AmSpa has already begun doing the following:

  • I have personally reached out to the heads of the largest industry suppliers (Allergan, Galderma, Merz, etc.) and requested that they work with our members on outstanding invoices and expired product, including postponing current invoices by at least 30 days (with more extensions if needed). As many of you know, their response has been encouraging and I have no doubt all industry vendors will be flexible with their accounts receivable.
  • AmSpa is providing as much content, information, and guidance as possible to its members.
  • AmSpa is providing guidance on obtaining emergency capital and funding. (We have already reached out to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to learn the process for accessing their disaster relief fund, and we hope to have more information within a day or two).
  • AmSpa is encouraging our leaders at the federal level to allocate relief funds for aesthetic businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We understand how difficult and stressful this time is for you, and we want all professionals in the medical aesthetics industry to know that AmSpa is dedicated to ensuring the prosperity of this industry. Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas for how we can help. We are in this together, and we’ll get through it together.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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UPDATED: A Look at the Federal COVID-19 Relief Bills

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 19, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020

capitol building

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

UPDATE: HR 6201 has been signed into law. The final version is available to read here. The general paid sick time mandate discussed in the original article has been replaced with an “emergency paid sick leave” requirement that applies only to the current crisis. Not mentioned in the original article, HR 6201 requires reimbursement or insurance coverage for testing for the coronavirus but does not change coverage for treatments. Because this is new law guidance and specific instructions are not yet available, regulatory agencies should provide more information in the coming days.

The major takeaways for medical spa owners and operators are:

Employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days are eligible to take a job-protected leave to quarantine, care for quarantined family or recover. The leave is unpaid and can be up to 12 weeks. the Department of Labor hasn’t yet updated its webpage, but you can find more information here when it does.

Employers must provide all employees with emergency paid sick leave, available for immediate use. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid time, and part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours they work in a two-week period. The paid sick time may be used if the employee is unable to work or telework, because they are:

  • Subject to federal, state or local quarantine orders;
  • Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • Experiencing symptoms of or seeking diagnosis for COVID-19;
  • Caring for an individual subject to quarantine;
  • Caring for a son or daughter due to school closure; or
  • Another similar circumstance.

Employers and self-employed individuals get a tax credit to offset the costs of the emergency paid sick leave. It is a quarterly credit against employment taxes for 100% of the wages paid up to $200 per day, or $511 per day if the reason is due to quarantine, ordered self-quarantine or the person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. However, the credit can only account for 10 days per quarter.

ORIGINAL POST: The federal bills aimed at providing relief for COVID-19 would require employers provide paid sick time for employees and create a federal additional sick time for public health emergencies. The Senate version, known as S 3415, is currently with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for deliberation. The House’s bill, known as HR 6201, has passed the House vote; however, recent reports indicate there are some issues with adopting amendments on the specific terms and funding for some of these new benefits and to whom they apply that must be addressed before passage. We’ll briefly review some of the tenets of HR 6201, since it is the more expansive bill; however, bear in mind that they may change substantially once these measures are finally passed.

Paid Sick Time

Under HR 6201, all employers with one or more employees would need to provide a paid sick leave benefit. The sick leave may be used for a number of health related absences, such as when the employee is ill or caring for a parent, child or spouse, as well as when a place of employment is closed by a state or federal official, or by the employer’s discretion due to a public health emergency. The sick time must accrue at the rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours in a year; however, the employer has the option of choosing higher limits. Exempt employees also earn this time. The sick time would begin accruing following the 60th day of employment. However, in the event of a public health emergency—such as the one we’re currently experiencing—the employee may use a special emergency paid sick time (discussed below). This sick time benefit will carry over from year to year, but employers are not required to provide more than 56 hours at any one time. Terminated or resigned employees are not entitled to be paid for unused time.

Employees also are entitled to additional paid sick time in the event of a declared public health emergency in addition to any regular sick time they have accrued. Full-time salaried employees would receive the equivalent of 14 days of leave; part-time and hourly employees would receive the number of hours they would normally have worked in a 14-day period. In a public health emergency, this sick time is used up first, followed by the normally accrued time. Employers with 50 or fewer employees are able to request a reimbursement of these emergency leave wages from the Secretary of Labor by submitting an affidavit showing the periods and wages associated with this additional paid sick time. Funds will be paid by the Secretary of the Treasury after approval.

Health Emergency Leave

In addition to the paid sick leave mentioned above, HR 6201 includes a separate emergency paid leave for those affected by COVID-19 who are either diagnosed ill, under quarantine or caregiving due to illness or facility closure. This leave is paid by the Social Security Commissioner in 30-day increments, up to three increments (i.e. 90 days total). The leave is at the rate of two-thirds of the average monthly earnings, up to $4,000. However, there is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in this benefit for any state or private paid leave the individual receives during this period. In order to use this benefit, individuals would need to first use up their paid leave, wages paid that period or unemployment compensation for the week. These funds would not be subject to income tax for federal tax purposes.

Employers also would need to provide protected unpaid leave up to 12 weeks in public health emergencies. This would be under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which typically only applies to employers with 50 or more employees, but for “public health emergencies” applies to any employer with one or more employee. This unpaid leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule. The employee can choose to substitute accrued paid leave or vacation for the unpaid time. However, the employer cannot force them to do so.

Other Provisions

HR 6201 contains additional provisions not found in S 3415. HR 6201 would require the adoption of emergency standards for health care workers to protect them from COVID-19; these standards would be developed jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It also would make additional funds available for SNAP assistance, student lunches and child nutrition, and provide waivers on state certification periods and reporting requirements to facilitate rapid implementation. HR 6201 also would require the adoption of emergency standards to protect health care and elevated-risk workers.

These bills, HR 6201 in particular, are moving and changing rapidly, so any specific provisions may be changed by the time they are finally passed. As this is a rapidly evolving crisis, it is likely that one of these measures will be adopted in the coming days. AmSpa will endeavor to stay on top of developments in these bills and keep you informed.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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The Pandemic, Elective Surgical Care and Informed Consent

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 19, 2020

empty hospital beds

By Jeff Segal, MD, JD, ByrdAdatto and Medical Justice

As I write this, we are reading in the news about potential quarantines and lockdowns. In addition, there’s talk about canceling all elective surgical cases, leaving hospital operating rooms empty so beds will be available to take care of those affected by COVID-19.

Have all elective cases been canceled across the US? No. Weirdly enough, while most people are hunkered down, there is a sizeable cohort who are capitalizing on their time off. Business is slowing, and they’ve been told to work remotely from home. Now they have a window of time to undergo that procedure they have been putting off.

Does the fact that there is a background pandemic change anything? Yes. Any surgery is an insult to the body. It is stressful. It affects the immune response. You know that. Most of the time, the body heals as expected.

What if the patient gets COVID-19 while convalescing? Perhaps nothing would change, and it would be no different than if they got the flu. But if the patient gets extremely sick, do not be shocked if a plaintiff’s attorney argues that the patient was not reasonably informed about the increased risk of COVID-19 while the body was in a weakened state. I’m not suggesting a patient’s post-surgical state may cause exacerbation of COVID-19—I’m just prognosticating the legal argument.

So, what to do? If your practice stays open and you are performing elective surgical cases, make sure the patient understands that any surgery increases their susceptibility to an infection, including the coronavirus. It’s unlikely to move the needle much. It will depend upon the patient’s underlying health, the body’s reaction and the viral load, and these variables are not entirely predictable. As long as the patient is reasonably informed and the procedure is not unnecessarily risky relative to the background viral activity, the legal argument should be neutralized.

Use good judgment and stay healthy!

Jeffrey J. Segal, MD, JD, is a neurosurgeon turned serial entrepreneur turned attorney at ByrdAdatto who has literally been in both business and medicine. Segal was a neurosurgeon in private practice before beginning the second phase of his career as a serial entrepreneur in the health care field. He then founded or co-founded four separate health care startups. Segal lives and breathes health care and understands it viscerally.

Tags:  ByrdAdatto  COVID-19  Med Spa Law 

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for a Pandemic

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 19, 2020

empty waiting room

By Weave

Our society is in the middle of a pandemic. It remains unclear what will unfold in the days to come, but many businesses are already shortening hours, canceling appointments and sending their employees home to work. These temporary arrangements have already affected the stock market, millions of workers and consumers everywhere.

The technological sophistication of our society has mitigated some of the problems caused by COVID-19, or coronavirus. Some businesses, especially those that rely heavily on tech for their existence, have allowed their employees to self-quarantine while also staying productive. Consumers who are trying to isolate still have the option of ordering supplies from online sources instead of fighting the crowds at the local grocery store.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of working and shopping from home. Plenty of businesses, specifically those in the service industry, can’t maintain their profit-stream without providing direct care to their clients. Customers are equally reliant on thriving businesses in the service industry.

At Weave, our chief objectives during this pandemic are helping organizations keep their employees and customers safe and educating business owners on how our complete business toolbox facilitates higher levels of safety.

This article will discuss ten specific ways to make businesses safe for both workers and clients as coronavirus spreads. We hope it empowers businesses to adjust to the threat of COVID-19 and even thrive under these conditions.

For many businesses in health care, recommendations have already been made to limit appointments to emergent visits only. If you are staying open, here are a few tips to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

1. Control Your Waiting Room

Avoiding large groups of people is the most common directive given by public health officials during this crisis. The president has recommended no gatherings of more than 10 people. Though waiting rooms don’t generally amass huge numbers of people, they still make already paranoid consumers a little more on-edge. Patients are trying to avoid health care facilities unless they absolutely need care.

To put their customers at ease, businesses shouldn’t try to sweep this concern about waiting rooms under a rug. They should accept the fact that waiting rooms are a concern for their clients.

Businesses can keep customers calm by encouraging them to stay in their cars upon arriving at their appointments. If they check in from their cars, patients can wait until professionals are completely ready to see them before entering a business. This adjustment to standard protocol lessens anxiety about catching a virus in the waiting room and ensures clients attend their already scheduled appointments.

2. Raise Awareness About Hand Washing

Many restaurants and grocery stores are proactive about telling their employees to wash their hands thoroughly after taking breaks and using the restroom. As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, hygiene has become a pressing issue not only in the food-service industry, but for all of society.

Those businesses that fail to show commitment to raising awareness about hand-washing and other good hygienic practices risk alienating their customers. Organizations need to demonstrate a new resolve surrounding the issue of hygiene.

This heightened awareness starts with proper signage being posted throughout physical locations. Your office staff should be posting educational information regarding hand washing in clear sight for both employees and customers. Other communication lines can also be used to notify clients about the need to be extra attentive in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

3. Collect Payments

Markets have shown some levels of instability in the short period of time since the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Whether or not the advance of the virus will cause an economic recession is still up in the air. Whatever happens, businesses are preparing for an uncertain future by securing preexisting revenue streams.

The process of solidifying financial security doesn’t need to be exploitative to succeed. Collecting payments from customers is an essential part of any industry, and panic about germ-covered money and waiting rooms cut into the ability of businesses to continue to properly collect payments during a pandemic.

Businesses can bolster their ability to collect payments in at least two ways. They should provide their clients with as many payment methods as possible to avoid fears around infection spread by cash, checks and credit cards. If customers are trying to stay out of waiting rooms, finding other, simpler methods to collect dues, such as a text-to-pay option, prevents them from having to hang out at the front desk for any length of time.

4. Fill Empty Time Slots

Payments aren’t the only aspect of running a business that could be potentially strained by coronavirus. Already, people are cancelling many of their plans, from dates to weekend plans to vacations. These cancellations impact businesses, too; anything that involves humans gathering together is seen as potentially dangerous.

While those consumers with the luxury of not going to their doctor, mechanic or accountant might be justified in doing so, lots of others will still need vital services. In fact, they will be eager to step into the gaps in your calendar in order to get the services they need sooner.

Anything your administrative team can do to fill empty time slots will go a long way toward preventing losses in revenue. By contacting clients about upcoming availabilities, your business can limit and even take advantage of recently vacated appointment times.

5. Update Business Information

Amidst the low-level chaos created by COVID-19, some businesses are making changes to their schedule without letting their customers know. This sort of mistake seems like a natural outgrowth of a pandemic.

However, businesses that want to keep their customers loyal and satisfied should be taking the time to update all their company information, including things like their voicemail and office hours. Even if these changes are only temporary, they keep business running smoothly and minimize missed appointments caused by incorrect information.

Updating voicemail can be a bit of a hassle for administrative teams, especially if the technology used to make these updates is old-fashioned. Something as simple as notifying customers about temporary office hours becomes a major project without the proper means, but you need to keep your customers informed.

Click here to read more about this topic from Weave.

Weave is an AmSpa Platinum Vendor Member. Weave prepares your front office with instant information and action items for every patient interaction, keep everyone on the same page with knowledge-sharing tools, fill in gaps with automation, and improve everything with analytics. It all works seamlessly with your team to create great experiences.

AmSpa Members get 50% off activation—a $500 value. Please mention you are an AmSpa Member when you sign up to make sure you receive your discount.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Guest Post 

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How the SBA Can Help Your Medical Spa During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

upset doctor

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is charged with providing support and financing to small businesses in America. It has set up a COVID-19 information page to provide guidance to small business owners during the coronavirus pandemic. This page offers a number of resources that may prove helpful for businesses affected by quarantine, loss of business or interruption of services during this time.

In addition to the commonly known loan programs, the SBA has local offices and partnerships that can help provide counseling, mentorship and training to help small business owners adapt to current market circumstances. During times like these, it recommends business owners assess what, if any, insurance coverage they may have, and review potential issues you may have in workforce capacity, acquiring supplies for your business, planning for changing circumstances, and marketing to your customers your efforts and business situation.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is the main type of capital access it provides during disasters. It now offers special loans available to businesses affected in declared disaster areas during this epidemic. These loans are intended to be used to make up for lost revenue or operating capital. Up to $2 million dollars in assistance is available to qualifying applicants. Interest rates on these loans are 3.75% (2.75% for non-profits), with variable repayment terms up to 30 years. Currently, the catch is that only those in declared disaster areas are eligible to apply for this type of loan. You can find out more information on the program and view a current list of locations here—it currently includes certain counties in California, Connecticut, Maine and Washington.

Other Programs

In addition to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the SBA has a number of different products and programs that provide capital through their lending partners. Of note, these programs are generally available and are not contingent on being located in a declared disaster area, as is needed for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These programs range in size from microloans (up to $50k) up to the 7(a) program (up to $5 million). There also is an “express” 7 (a) loan option that allows loans up to $350k for up to seven years with a 36-hour approval process. Not all businesses will be eligible for every loan program, but at least one of the offerings should work for most situations.

Whether or not you intend to apply for any of the SBA’s loan products or to utilize any of its resources, you still should review the information it provides. While something it offers may not be helpful to you now, it may become so in the future, or a colleague may be able to make use of it. It also is likely that as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, additional disaster areas will be declared, opening up the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to more businesses.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Law 

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AmSpa Launches AmSpa Live Series to Address Current Medical Spa Issues

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 17, 2020

webinars

The world of medical aesthetics—and life in general in the United States—has changed a great deal in the past week. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every person’s life and livelihood. Maintaining social distance and remaining at home are prudent decisions aimed at preventing a mass outbreak of a deadly disease, but they are also causing enormous problems for small businesses in all sectors, including medical aesthetics.

At AmSpa, we realize that this is a crucial time for your business, and we’re here to help you weather the storm. To that end, we’re launching AmSpa Live, a series of interactive online presentations designed to bring you the timely information you need to keep your medical aesthetic business running in these trying times.

AmSpa Live will be programmed from week to week, in order to provide viewers with the most useful, up-to-date information available. This week’s presentations are:

  • Tuesday, March 17, 11am Central—Coronavirus and Your Medical Spa: Medical and Business Perspectives: Recording coming soon!
    Dr. Robin Patel, the director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic and the president of the American Society for Microbiology, and Kim Chambers, HR Generalist from Cognos HR, will help answer the questions you have regarding the virus itself, its spread and how it will affect your business.
  • Wednesday, March 18, 1pm Central—Paying for Productivity: Compensation Programs That Don’t Violate Fee-splitting Laws: In order to get the most out of their workforce and incentivize employees to give their all, employers often structure compensation programs that reward employees for productivity by giving them a piece of the pie. This standard concept can become complicated in the medical field, as many states have anti-kickback and fee-splitting laws that can restrict or prevent employers from providing certain personnel with a piece of the medical procedure fee. In this regularly scheduled webinar, Robert Fisher from ByrdAdatto, PLLC, will discuss these fee-splitting laws and how an employer can legally structure compensation programs to incentivize employees in a compliant way.
  • Thursday, March 19—How Do Small Businesses Handle Employment Issues During the COVID-19 Outbreak? In this webinar, Renee Coover, partner with ByrdAdatto, will address concerns that small businesses are facing across the country as the COVID-19 outbreak fundamentally changes the way we work and the economic landscape. Renee will provide guidance on wage and hour considerations; how to handle sick or potentially sick employees; employee travel restrictions; telecommuting and alternative means of providing services to clients; vacation, PTO and sick leave policies for small employers; employee leaves and the intersect of the ADA, FMLA and NLRA; and changes in working conditions in response to this global outbreak.
  • Friday March 20—COVID-19 and Your Medical Spa: Not Business as Usual: Learn how some of the industry’s leaders are handling the situation surrounding COVID-19 at their own businesses. Nicole Chiaramonte, owner of Synergy MedAesthetics, Kennewick, Washington; Marria Pooya, managing partner of Greenwich Medical Spa; and Ben Chew, owner/administrator of Illume Aesthetics, Ashland, Oregon, join us to discuss what they’re doing to address the issues that are emerging.

Each presentation is a webinar in function, so attendees will be able to interact with the presenters and have their questions answered in real time.

No one could have foreseen what has happened in the past week, but now that we’re here, AmSpa is dedicated to helping medical spas survive and thrive in the new world in which we’re living. There’s no telling what will happen next, but with AmSpa Live, we’re dedicated to addressing it.

Tags:  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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Community in a Time of Crisis

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 16, 2020

community

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

It is amazing to think about how quickly things move in today’s world. The AmSpa Team returned from Medical Spa Show 2020 (MSS) a little over a month ago, inspired by the spirit, community and excitement generated by the attendees, speakers and exhibitors who converged on the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. What makes this industry different—what makes it great—is its sense of community and support. I’ve been to dozens of conferences in this industry, and none of them engender the excitement and enthusiasm created by the people attending MSS. Those of you who made it to Las Vegas for MSS know what I mean. The support, willingness to share and sense of togetherness were truly uplifting—and the Opening Night Party was off the hook!

And yet, six weeks later, as I write this letter from my self-imposed “social isolation,” the reality is that it feels like we are totally separated from one another. The COVID-19 scare is at a fever pitch. These events have moved with a speed and intensity that I’m not sure we’ll see again in our lifetime. We at AmSpa went from the excitement of kicking off another Boot Camp season to the postponement of the first two Boot Camps in one day. Now, we’re working from home and hoping the economy recovers. It’s mind-boggling how quickly COVID-19 has altered our lives.

Still, in spite of our current circumstances, I find myself incredibly optimistic and excited about the future of this industry. It’s strange, in a sense—I see how isolation and quarantine will slow down our individual economies but, at the same time, I have no doubt that the medical spa industry will make it through this crisis and be stronger than ever. And the reason for that is the people. The same spirit and community that made MSS so special will be the tonic that calms our nerves, and, in the end, lifts the entire industry higher than it would have been before. The spirit of community and support needed to get through this time already exists in this industry, and I have no doubt we will all step up and meet the challenge.

We want you to know that AmSpa is here for you and will continue to provide the best education, resources and content for our members and the industry. Read a quick primer on the AmSpa Now blog for an overview on how this might affect your practice, and for information on how to prepare your employees, address regulatory concerns and create a viable plan of action, you can view this free webinar.

Additionally, we will be posting a podcast next week featuring Dr. Robin Patel, the director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic and the president of the American Society for Microbiology, and Kim Chambers, HR Generalist from Cognos HR, to help answer the questions you have regarding the virus itself, its spread and how it will affect your business. Feel free to send questions you would like answered to info@americanmedspa.org by Monday at 5 pm CST. We’ll continue to research ways to assist you in preparing your practice to handle the current situation.

With all that said, I want to thank you for helping us create a community that lifts people up rather than tears them down—that builds rather than destroys. While we may not all be in the same room for a while, we are still committed to helping our members grow and prosper.

We’re a family, and we’re here for you.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends 

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What Your Medical Spa Needs to Know About the Coronavirus, Part 2

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 13, 2020

coronavirus covid-19

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

Since part one of this article was originally posted, the outbreak of Coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has spread rapidly in the U.S., with cases in every state and hundreds of cases in our largest cities. The World Health Organization has labeled the outbreak a “global pandemic,” and nations, states and cities have declared emergencies. Many public events have been cancelled or postponed, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other authorities are requesting that people take certain steps to help limit the spread of infection.  Many businesses are requesting that their employees work from home; unfortunately, medical spas are not in a position to do this.

In part one of this article, we discussed an employer’s duties in events like this, as well as the need to develop policies and response plans. Recently, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a guidebook about preparing workplaces for COVID-19 for employers. We recommend that you read it in full. In addition to that information, here are some ideas for the challenges unique to medical spas:

  • Increase the use of personal protective equipment (PPE): Because of the close, personal nature of medical spa services, the chances of transmission are elevated. You may want to consider increasing the levels of PPE for all patient encounters. If you currently only use gloves for consults, consider adding a mask and eye shield, as well as more thoroughly ventilating the rooms.
  • Sterilize or remove commonly touched items: your waiting room sees the most traffic of any part of your facility, but it probably receives the least frequent cleanings. Make it a point to sterilize doors, chairs and counters multiple times each day or after each use. If you have a pen cup, remove it and use one pen that is wiped between uses. If you use a tablet-based system, sterilize it between uses or have your front-desk person take verbal instructions.
  • Limit chances for contact: Your prescribing providers—physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners—are critical members of your team, and, to the extent state laws allow, may want to perform patient examinations via telemedicine, provided proper supervision of the facility is maintained. Before patients come in for appointments, they should be prescreened and asked to reschedule if they have any symptoms or prior exposure. Employees who can work remotely should be permitted to do so.
  • Broaden your providers’ scopes: Identify your core services and make sure that as many of your employees who are able to provide the services are trained to do so (staying within each person’s licensed scope of practice). By having a cross-trained team, you can minimize disruptions if a single member is forced to miss work for any reason.

It also is extremely important that you communicate these efforts to your patients. Not only will it build confidence in your services, it will also help patients assist in the efforts. You may want to include a sign on the door or at the front desk to this effect:

We take the threat of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 very seriously. To combat the spread of this disease and to protect our patients and employees, we have instituted protocols and strengthened our already thorough sterilization procedures.

If you have questions about these procedures, please ask.

To assist us today, please cover coughs and sneezes, and refrain from touching surfaces. We have provided tissues and hand sanitizer for your use. Thank you.

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:  Med Spa Trends 

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