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The Art of the Fair Deal

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 3, 2019

handshake

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

Warren Buffett once told Berkshire Hathaway sharholders, “More than 50 years ago, Charlie [Munger, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman] told me that it was far better to buy a wonderful business at a fair price than to buy a fair business at a wonderful price.” Businesspeople who see every deal as something to be won or lost may disagree with this, but I believe that if you conduct all your dealings fairly and ethically, you improve your chances for success.

When you start your business and begin forming partnerships, agreeing to contracts and making deals with others—whether they are employees or external businesses—you should always endeavor to make fair deals. In other words, don’t chase every last dollar and screw people over just so you can feel like you’ve “won” these deals. Some businesspeople seem to be addicted to this feeling, but deals don’t have to have winners or losers—a fair deal lets everyone get what they want.

For example, if you’re negotiating with someone who you know is undervaluing his or her position, don’t take advantage of it just to save a little money. You should always respect the other party. You might end up paying a bit more than you think you should be paying, but if you conduct business ethically, you almost certainly will build a positive reputation among your peers, which will lead to future opportunities.

I believe in something I call “corporate karma,” which dictates that if you conduct business fairly, you’ll end up attracting people—employees, business partners, etc.—who are good for your business. If, instead of making a fair deal with the person who is undervaluing his or her asset, you decide to use this to your advantage, that person will almost certainly find out what you’ve done and will be hesitant to do business with you again. Additionally, he or she will probably tell others about your shady practices, and you might find yourself with limited options moving forward because you needed to feel like you “won” the original deal.

There are many things in the world of business and finance that you can’t manage, but your conduct is firmly within your control. If you approach your dealings intending to conduct them ethically and fairly, you’ll improve your chances of success. After all, the best kinds of deals are the ones in which both sides gain something they value.

For more medical spa business and legal best practices, and to learn how to build and run your med spa compliantly, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials 

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The Legalities of Body Sculpting

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

body sculpting

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

Body sculpting is one of the truly hot trends in the medical aesthetic industry. It is administered by applying either extreme cold or extreme heat to fat, which causes the fat to break down and die, after which it exits the body via natural processes. It has proven to be very effective in removing relatively small fat deposits from hard-to-address areas of the body. CoolSculpting from Allergan is the industry leader for this type of therapy, so much so that its name has became virtually synonymous with cryolipolysis, the “cold” variant of this treatment. SculpSure from Cynosure is another popular body sculpting treatment—it uses lasers to kill fatty tissue. In addition, several other companies now provide similar products and services.

Despite the popularity of these treatments, though, some questions still exist regarding who can perform them. Cryolipolysis treatments, especially, are somewhat tricky in this regard, because they don’t use light-emitting devices or lasers, so it falls into a grey area where a lot of the existing laser statutes don’t cover it directly. Cryolipolysis equipment is not a light-emitting device, a laser, or an ultrasound—it simply uses extremely cold temperatures, and the manner by which these temperatures are produced is typically not regulated.

As such, it has been argued that, because cryolipolysis does not fall within the scope of the regulations that are currently on the books, it is therefore not the practice of medicine. If this is the case, anybody could perform these treatments, provided they were properly trained to do so, and the practice would not need to conduct a face-to-face exam with a licensed medical professional prior to the procedure. In addition, it would obviate certain issues related to payment and processing.

The counterargument to this is that generally, medical boards find that medical treatment occurs when an ailment is diagnosed and living tissue is impacted; every state’s regulations are slightly different, but typically, this is a baseline that is observed practically everywhere, particularly as it relates to aesthetic treatments. It cannot reasonably be argued that cryolipolysis treatment doesn’t meet both of these conditions—an unwanted fat deposit is observed, treated with extreme cold in order to destroy it, and then expelled from the body. This clearly affects living tissue and so, from a legal standpoint, it should be considered a medical treatment. As such, it requires a face-to-face exam and patient history, and it must be performed by a licensed medical professional, or delegated to a nurse or technician who is properly trained and supervised.

It is my belief that if this was ever presented to a medical board—it hasn’t been yet, but I’m sure it will be someday—the board would find, without question, that cryolipolysis is the practice of medicine. Medical aesthetic practices that don’t use the same procedures for cryolipolysis that they would for laser treatments are taking a risk, because when you get right down to it, everything that is true about laser treatments is true about cryolipolysis when it comes to the way it affects living tissue.

However, AmSpa is not aware of any laws that specifically address cryolipolysis for body-sculpting purposes and, until there are—or until an influential medical board rules on the matter—the grey area will remain at least somewhat grey. It is recommended that you speak to an experienced local healthcare attorney regarding his or her interpretation of the regulations in your state that could be applied to this treatment. (Author’s note: AmSpa works with a national law firm that focuses on medical aesthetic legalities and, as a member, along with a number of other great benefits, you receive a discount off of your initial consultation. Click here to learn more.)

However, we at AmSpa and ByrdAdatto firmly believe that cryolipolysis falls within the practice of medicine, and that any practice providing this treatment should observe the same procedures regarding patient care that it would with any other medical treatment.

Tags:  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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MSOs: Your Path to Profit Optimization

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 28, 2019

doctor businessperson partnership

By Nicole Chiaramonte, CEO, TWG Consulting Corp.; founder, Synergy MedAesthetics; and aesthetic industry investor

The skyrocketing demand for aesthetic services in the U.S. has created a tremendous opportunity for business experts, entrepreneurs and investors. In an industry that until recently was run exclusively by physicians, the mainstreaming of management service organization (MSO) partnerships allows doctors to partner with entrepreneurs and benefit from their business expertise while they focus on the medicine.

With the advent of selfies, the Kardashian phenomenon and social media, women and men of all ages are flocking to spend money to look their best. The current medical establishment is not necessarily ready to handle this in a way that is beneficial for them, their employees and their patients. This is where MSO partnerships have allowed for a win-win-win in the aesthetic world.

An MSO allows investors and business experts to partner with a physician in a legal manner, thus not violating the corporate practice of medicine. These partnerships have proven to be profitable for all involved when properly executed. To understand the benefits of MSO partnerships for all parties, one must first understand the unique benefits and skillset everyone brings to the table and, just as important, what their responsibilities are in such arrangements.

Entrepreneurs

As an investor in the aesthetic industry, you will provide your time, investment capital and business expertise to the partnership. This may include a love for spreadsheets and a “Beautiful Mind” ability to read into the deeper layers of a profit and loss statement, balance sheet or statement of cash flow to identify unnecessary losses and quickly increase profit margins. These skills are what you bring to the table and why you are needed in this industry.

But your education has just begun. To be truly successful in this venture, you will need to gain a comprehensive understanding of aesthetic procedures—not only what they are and what they do, but also why they work. You will learn more than you ever thought you would know about the body’s healing systems, skin health, facial anatomy and more. Attend every practitioner training you are allowed to audit, conduct research online, and understand the competitive products, technologies and services. You will need to know them all this well enough to effectively market the practice, train administrative staff and answer patient questions.

When negotiating percentages of ownership in an MSO with a physician, remember to honor the dedicated time and expense required of your partner’s medical degree, as well as the responsibility he or she takes on with every treatment performed. Your active hours contributed to the operation may be significantly more when compared in the short-term, but his or her ongoing risk is real.

Physicians

It is common for doctors to feel the risk to their license is too great to enter into an MSO—they resist the idea of relinquishing a percentage of profit or determine they can best run a practice on their own. In my experience, 100% of the time, a physician enjoys more income from a partnership than he or she did prior to partnering into an MSO. In addition, physicians experience considerably less stress, aggravation and demands on their time when their partners are able to assume responsibility and management of staffing, human resources, inventory, accounting, payroll, patient management, and advertising and marketing.

Partnering with someone who has gone to the lengths necessary to know your industry, proper protocols, SOPs and standing orders is key for physicians considering MSO partnerships or medical directorships. Your partner should put the safety of your license above all else. If you have the right business partner, he or she may inform you about new clinical studies, FDA approvals and technique developments before you hear about them. This is especially necessary in an environment where you are a non-practicing aesthetic medical director who has delegated to onsite mid-levels (nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants).

Once a partnership is in place and responsibilities and parameters are set, it is time to get to work on profit optimization. In my experience of owning 20% to 85% interest in 12 MSOs, the following areas are the first places I audit, whether the practice is in operation or brand new.

  1. Back bar/treatment room materials. This includes everything from Hydrafacial MD products to Botox and machine consumables. How often are you checking for inventory loss or overuse of product that throws your margins off by up to 70%?
  2. Capital purchases. If you are paying list price for new machines, this can take a huge bite out of your profits, benefiting no one but your sales rep.
  3. Staffing. You must make sure you have proper hours, compensation levels and adequate coverage with the necessary practitioners.
  4. Advertising and marketing. From website development to ongoing social media marketing, is your practice paying a premium because you are deemed “medical?”

In short, aesthetic practice profitability is illusive to some and an exact science to others. MSO partnerships are legal, profitable ways to operate an aesthetic practice to the benefit and delight of all involved.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Guest Post  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Ownership  Med Spa Trends 

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Four Insurance Policies Medical Spa Owners May Not Know They Need

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 26, 2019

insurance

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

Medical spa owners and operators must maintain an array of insurance policies in order to protect their practices from everything from medical malpractice penalties to flooding. However, medical spa owners may not realize they need certain types of coverage until it is too late. Here is a quick look at a few of them.

Employment Practices Liability

If you run a small business such as a medical spa, you likely will be confronted with an employment-related tort—that is to say, a lawsuit filed by an employee who feels he or she has been mistreated in some way. Employment practices liability insurance covers claims such as wrongful termination, harassment, failure to hire, failure to promote, wrongful disciplinary actions, libel, slander, and other types of grievance brought by an employee against an employer.

(For more employment-related issues see AmSpa's webinar on employee handbooks in a medical spa.)

Cyber Liability

Businesses didn’t used to worry about people stealing customer data from their networks. Unfortunately, cyber security is now a major concern for all companies—even medical spas. Cyber liability insurance helps policyholders endure a cyber attack by paying their recovery costs—customer notification, credit monitoring, legal fees and other expenses.

Cyber liability insurance also provides crisis management and public relations services that can help a policyholder rebuild its name after a cyber security event.

A cyber attack typically costs a small business between $84,000 and $148,000, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. And unfortunately, 60% of small businesses that suffer cyber attacks close within six months, according to a Champlain College study.

Cyber liability insurance can be purchased from most business office package insurers; some malpractice insurers also offer a token amount of cyber liability coverage. It also can be purchased as a standalone policy.

Spoilage

Many medical spa owners and operators don’t consider purchasing coverage for spoilage, but those who have experienced the problems created by a loss of electricity can attest to the fact that this can save a practice a lot of money.

Some medications used in medical spas—most notably toxins—need to be refrigerated. If the facility loses power for an extended period of time and the medications spoil, a practice without this coverage has to buy all new medications, which could be a very expensive proposition.

Spoilage coverage can be obtained as part of a business office package policy, but it is not automatic—it must either be acquired through a loan endorsement that can be added to coverage or as part of blanket endorsements that are incorporated into a policy.

If you determine that your practice needs spoilage coverage, it’s probably best to purchase a bit more than you think you need, provided you can afford it.

Off-label Use

Kybella is an injectable designed to combat “double chins,” and it is very popular in the medical aesthetic industry. It is indicated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of subcutaneous fat under the jaw line, and as long as it is being used in this manner, it will be covered by most insurers. However, some aesthetic practices use Kybella to treat fat deposits elsewhere on the body, and that is where coverage problems can arise.

Practices that use drugs for treatments beyond those for which they have been indicated should consult with their insurers to make sure that they are covered for this sort of use. If they are not, they should either amend their policies to cover these treatments, which may be possible, or stop offering them. This might sound extreme, but if a bad outcome were to occur when using a drug for purposes other than those for which it is indicated, and that use is not covered by insurance, the practice would be completely exposed from a legal standpoint.

The Price Is Right?

The amount of insurance coverage most medical spas buy is dictated by what they can afford. Generally speaking, most of the issues an aesthetic practice will encounter can be covered by malpractice, general liability, property and worker’s compensation insurance. Policies such as the ones described above sometimes are passed over in favor of more common insurance types because they aren’t as obviously valuable on a daily basis. However, if your practice can afford these coverage types, you should consider investing in them. After all, you can’t be too safe.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends 

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FDA Makes Statement on Medical Device Reporting Changes

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

device

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

On June 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced several changes meant to improve and streamline its reporting requirements for medical devices. This likely will be a welcome change for device manufacturers and hopefully reduce their compliance burden. In the press release, which you can click here to read, Jeffrey E. Shuren, MD, JD, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, discusses three major changes to the agency’s strategy for tracking and monitoring medical device adverse events. Under current FDA rules, device manufacturers are required to submit a medical device report (MDR) within 30 days if the use of a medical device results in serious injury or death. In order to monitor trends, FDA has implemented several voluntary reporting processes for manufacturers to follow for device malfunctions that do not result in serious injury or death.

The agency announced the discontinuation of one such voluntary reporting process. The Alternative Summary Reporting (ASR) Program was implemented in 1997 and allowed manufacturers that were granted exemptions on particular devices to submit batched reporting for devices that had certain well-known risks. This program included exemptions for dental implants, implantable defibrillators and pacemaker electrodes, totaling 108 such devices in all. This program had been being phased out since 2017, first through the institution of a supplementary reporting process and now with the full discontinuation.

It will be replaced by a new program known as the Voluntary Malfunction Summary Reporting (VMSR) Program, which allows manufactures to report incidents quarterly. However, this is only for minor incidents—serious injury and death reports are still required within 30 days. One of the goals of this program is to make the reported data compatible with FDA’s information database, known as MAUDE; the ASR Program’s lack of compatibility with MAUDE was one of its shortcomings. FDA hopes to streamline MAUDE and make its data more user-friendly and accessible, all with the aim of monitoring and catching defective or problematic devices as quickly as possible.

In addition, FDA is instituting a new data monitoring system that can analyze data continuously and automatically using algorithms. The system is called the National Evaluation System for Health Technology (NEST), and it has been in development since 2012. It utilizes large sets of data tied to each device’s unique identification codes. FDA hopes that it will be able to better protect patients by identifying trends and issues earlier than a human would be able to.

FDA is making these changes in order to better protect the public and the users of these devices. The changes should also make it easier for device manufacturers to submit their required reports. And if all of these FDA acronyms make your head spin, you should consider attending one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps. There, you’ll learn how to set your business apart from your competitors, including the latest in technology and the newest devices.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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This Name’s Taken: The Importance of Trademark Law in Your Practice

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 24, 2019

trademark law

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

A medical aesthetic practice’s brand is among its most valuable assets. When your patients think of your facility, your brand is the first thing that enters their minds. Therefore, it is vital that you take the utmost care in creating and protecting your brand, and obtaining trademark protection for it is an important part of this process. Whether you are already operating a practice or are planning to open one in the near future, this is important information to have. Here is a quick primer.

In on the Ground Floor

The American Medical Spa Association (AmSpa) recommends that before opening, dermatology practices, cosmetic surgical practices, and medical spas do a trademark search for the name that they plan on using. This isn’t necessarily important if you are a plastic surgeon who plans on using his or her name for the practice (for example, Dr. Meredith Anderson’s Plastic Surgery), but if your practice is a medical spa that is planning to use a name such as, say, Effervescence Medical Spa, you need to make sure that this name or a confusing similar name is not already in use.

“[Businesses] should engage an attorney experienced with trademark law to perform a searches to determine whether there may be any conflicts before they even hire a graphic designer to develop a logo or business name,” says Jim Stanford, partner at ByrdAdatto, a business and health care law firm based in Dallas. “I’ve run into problems so many times where a company has spent all sorts of money and resources developing its name and logo only to find out that there’s a conflicting use out there and they have to change everything. This typically occurs when they receive a cease and desist letter from the other party’s attorney or when they are seeking trademark registration.”

A properly conducted trademark search is a much more labor-intensive process than one might imagine.

“Typically, we hire an outside company such as Corsearch, and they’ll provide a comprehensive report that’s usually 200-300 pages long,” Stanford explains. “We review the various uses in the report that might be similar or conflicting with the proposed mark. If there aren’t any conflicts at all or registration appears feasible subject to potential challenges that are acceptable to the client, we’ll proceed with the application process. But if it looks like there might be a problem, we point that out to the client and discuss the risks, and sometimes we advise the client not to use their proposed trademark and search for another.”

The attorney may give the client the go-ahead to submit an application, but that doesn’t mean that the process is over. First, the attorney and the client must decide what elements of the branding they need to protect.

“The application part is somewhat administrative—we need to identify the goods and services that are associated with the mark so we can determine what classes they go into, prepare a description of the goods or services, and put the application together,” Stanford says. “If the client has a logo or design element to the mark in addition to the word mark itself, its often advisable to seek registration of both through separate applications to obtain broader protection.”

After the application is completed and submitted, the waiting game begins.

“Once the application is finalized, prosecution of the application, that is, seeking registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a pretty lengthy process,” Stanford says. “We’re not going to hear back from the USPTO for at least four months. From there, if there are any issues or conflicts, we have to address them with the USPTO examining attorney, and there may be some back and forth. From my experience, the quickest a trademark may be registered with the USPTO is probably 9-10 months or so—it typically takes close to a year or longer to finally get it registered, if you don’t have any major issues.”

The total cost of the trademark process can vary greatly from case to case, but generally speaking, it is a somewhat notable financial commitment, especially since the medical spa or practice is just beginning its journey.

“The more classes you have, the more the initial cost is,” Stanford says. “The initial filing and search and clearance is typically $2,000-3,000, on average, but it’s much better to spend this money up front than to have to deal with potential conflicts or lawsuits in the future that will cost tremendous amount more to resolve.”

A Question of Complexity

Stanford recommends that those who seek trademark protection for their medical spa or medical practice’s name and logo make sure that it meets certain conditions before the filing process begins.

“The client [should do] their best to pick something that is not descriptive of what they’re doing, because that hurts the value of a mark,” he says. “The marketing world and clients in general prefer to select names and trademarks that either say or describe exactly what they’re offering and, from a trademark law perspective, this weakens the trademark or ability to get it registered as a trademark. [For example], ‘Star Medical Spa and Skin Care Center’—would be a challenge and likely would not get registered on the principal register as a trademark because it’s descriptive of the services that are associated with the mark and the only non-descriptive element is ‘Star’. The more the mark is arbitrary or at least only suggestive of the goods or services associated with the mark, the stronger the trademark will be, and the better chance of obtaining registration. Assuming there were no conflicting uses, ‘Effervescence’ as the sole trademark and only word in any logo or design mark would be a much better mark. When you put your sign on your wall or launch your website, you can always  use your trademark next to the words ‘medical spa’, for example, but they should not be part of the trademark itself.”

Investigating Infringement

Making sure that your practice’s brand isn’t already in use is important because the penalties for trademark or trade name infringement can be severe.

“If another party has a trademark registered with the USPTO and your mark is infringing, you have constructive notice, even if you didn’t actually know about the other mark, and you could potentially get hit with the other party’s actual damages, a reasonable royalty, and damages equal to your profits,” Stanford said. “Including possible treble damages if your infringement was determined to be willful--it could be a nightmare and it could cost you  your business.”

A trademark violation could lead to major financial problems for a medical aesthetic business. Even if you’ve registered a trademark with your state’s department of business services (which is usually associated with the secretary of state’s office), you may still be infringing on a national mark, which could lead to major problems.

Typically, however, the party owing the registered trademark will send a cease-and-desist letter and you should have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement. Although this certainly is preferable to court, the cost can still be substantial.

“The legal fees in just settling that situation could easily be $10,000-30,000, depending on how much it goes back and forth,” Stanford says. “In any potential dispute, the legal fees add up very quickly.”

The winners of these disputes tend to be the entity with the deeper pockets, even if they don’t have a legal position that ultimately would be successful in court—they simply want to cut out competition. If your medical practice is just starting out or establishing itself in the industry, chances are that won’t be you.

“I’ve had matters where I didn’t believe our client was infringing, but the party on the other side had more than enough money to pound our client into the dirt and we had to concede as our clientcouldn’t afford or at least justify the legal fees to fight it,” Stanford says.

A business can sink tens of thousands of dollars into marketing, product development, and branding, only to have to choose whether to redo all their branding because they’ve been hit with a trademark claim, or spend at least as much money on attorneys to fight an infringement claim, even though they have a fairly decent shot of winning in the end. The enormous expense associated with court cases such as these underscores the importance of making sure that your trademark protection is squared away as soon as possible.

“You spend $5,000 up front to try to make sure you do it right to avoid $50,000 to change your mark once you find out you have a conflict,” Stanford states.

Making Your Mark

One of the things ByrdAdatto always tells its clients at the beginning is that, if there is a specific name that you want to use, a trademark search should be done and, if advisable based on the situation, a trademark application should be filed. As the medical aesthetic industry grows, brands expand, and more and more large franchises emerge with a great deal of financial backing, it is simply not smart to operate without properly vetted trademark protection. Thanks to the Internet, it is easy to find a business that’s violating a company’s trademark, and you’d better believe that company’s lawyers are actively looking for just that opportunity. You might think you have the greatest name in the world, but if you can’t actually use it, it will do you far more harm than good.

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

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Join AmSpa at the Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 21, 2019

loews atlanta

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

Starting next Saturday, June 29, AmSpa will host its Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to help medical aesthetic professionals develop their practices, and we can’t wait to visit Atlanta again. There’s still time to register for the event—just click here to sign up. Here is a quick overview of the program:

Saturday, June 29

The Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed at 8:30 a.m. with my opening keynote. From there, we will move into the main program:

  • 9 – 10:30 a.m.: The Plan, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—What are the most effective ways to develop a business plan for your medical spa? Medical Spa Consultant Bryan Durocher discusses the ins and outs of the planning process and helps determine how long it realistically takes to open a practice.
  • 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.: The Lessons, presented by Louis Frisina—Every medical spa is different, but the successful ones share several common traits. In this session, Business Strategy Consultant Louis Frisina discusses the qualities that are typically found in practices that bring in a significant amount of revenue.
  • 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.: Medical Aesthetic Hot Topics Panel, featuring Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing), James David Brown (Environ Skincare), Helen Haynes (Bellus Medical) and a representative from Galderma—This panel, moderated by yours truly, will feature a spirited discussion of the current issues and events that concern medical spa owners and operators.
  • 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.: The Law, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa) and Jay D. Reyero (ByrdAdatto)—In this presentation, we’ll discuss the long-standing and emerging legal issues that every medical spa owner needs to know about. As you can imagine, there is a lot to cover here, since new concerns seem to be arising daily lately.
  • 4:15 – 5 p.m.: The Treatments, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—Learn about the most profitable and popular treatments available to your practice, and find out how to best determine which treatments are right for you based on the state of your practice.
  • 5 – 6 p.m.: The Digital Marketing Ecosystem, presented by Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing)—Find out how to effectively spread the word about your medical aesthetic practice and how best to determine what’s working and what’s not. Your practice’s digital presence is more important than ever before, and curating it should be a top priority.

Saturday will wrap up with a cocktail reception from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 30

Once again, the Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast.

  • 8:30 – 9 a.m.: Anatomy of a $5-Million Med Spa, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa)—Have you ever wondered what the difference is between your medical spa and one that’s mega-successful? It might be less significant than you think. This presentation will show what a $5-million med spa is doing right—and what you might be doing wrong.
  • 9 – 10 a.m.: The Financials, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—At the end of the day, the money you’re bringing in is the most important measure of your practice’s success. This presentation will, among other things, demonstrate how to properly develop a budget and use metrics to determine your med spa’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: The Long-term Revenue, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—Simply being successful isn’t enough for a medical aesthetic practice; you have to know how to maintain and grow your success. In this session, Brandon and Jenny will show you how to build patient loyalty and move your business forward.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: The Consultation, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Learn how to put your best foot forward with effective patient consultations—and how to turn them into consistent business.
  • 1 – 2 p.m.: The Team, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—A medical spa is only as good as its personnel, so it’s important to make sure that you hire a staff that can do everything you want it to—and more. In this session, you’ll learn about recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who can make your medical spa dreams come true.
  • 2 – 3 p.m.: The Marketing Plan and Social Media, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—This session will help you determine how to most effectively market your medical aesthetic practice using both traditional methods and cutting-edge techniques.

Also, you’ll have the chance to visit with a number of exceptional vendors during this event. Attend the Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp to check out the latest and greatest from the following companies:

We hope you can join us in Atlanta next weekend. This Boot Camp is a tremendous opportunity to get your medical aesthetic business headed in the right direction and learn some tips and tricks that can take it to the next level. Click here to register!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Ownership  Med Spa Trends 

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Why Is It Important to Measure and Track Your Medical Spa’s Business?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

data

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

Success in the medical aesthetics business depends on many factors, from effective marketing to efficient employees to reliable equipment. However, if a medical spa does not thoroughly track everything that goes on there, its owners and operators simply cannot truly understand the health of the practice.

Good medical spas track everything. If you can’t track, you can’t measure; if you can’t measure, you can’t tell what’s working and what isn’t; and if you can’t tell what’s working and what isn’t, you can’t make informed decisions when determining your next steps.

If you don’t understand how and why something is working, it’s not really working for you. Its success can inform your future decisions, because you don’t have enough information to tell you what is actually happening.

For example, let’s say one aesthetician is earning significantly money than the practice’s other aestheticians, despite the fact that he or she is providing exactly the same services. Is he or she doing something different than everybody else in the practice? Is it the hours he or she works? Is it just simply dumb luck? If you don’t track everything that happens at your practice, you have no way of knowing for sure, and if you don’t know, you can’t take advantage of it.

Some factors tracked by top medical spas include:

  • Dollars per hour per treatment per provider;
  • Dollars per hour per provider;
  • Margin per treatment per provider;
  • Return on investment per provider;
  • Return on investment per equipment;
  • Conversion rates; and
  • Return on investment on email campaigns, marketing campaigns and social media.

This might seem like a lot of work, but I promise you that no effective business—medical spa or otherwise—leaves these aspects of its enterprise up to chance. For example, if you find that the laser equipment you purchased doesn’t provide the return on investment you expected, you won’t be tempted to spend more money on lasers because you’ve determined that it probably isn’t worth it.

Likewise, if you find that a direct mail campaign provides significantly better results than a Facebook campaign despite the former costing much more to conduct, you can allocate your marketing resources in ways that bring your practice the best possible return on its investment.

At AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps, we spend much of the two days showing attendees ways to track and measure all aspects of their businesses, including retail sales, medical treatment and marketing. Join us at our next Boot Camp, which takes place at the Loews in Atlanta on June 29 and 30, 2019. If you can’t make it to Atlanta, consider joining us at one of our other Boot Camps this year—we’ll be in Seattle in July, Dallas in September, New York in October and Orlando in December. Click here to learn more and register now.

Your business can’t improve if you don’t have the information that tells you what’s working and what’s not. You need to track, measure, review, change, and repeat. AmSpa can help, and we hope to see you soon.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials 

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Botched Procedures: What Happens Next?

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 17, 2019

injection

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

If you are in practice long enough, you are going to have a bad outcome—it’s just a matter of time. I’ve never met a doctor who hasn’t been sued. No matter how careful you are, there is a very good chance that a bad outcome will occur on your watch. Sometimes it’s a side effect that occurs due to improper disclosure on consent forms or is not mentioned in the product manufacturer’s guidelines. However, people also make mistakes, and they may be held accountable for them. Regardless of the circumstances, understanding what to do when a bad outcome occurs on your watch will help your medical spa emerge from the situation more or less unscathed.

Keep Calm and Carry On

First and foremost, panicking and attempting to cover up the issue that led to the bad outcome is absolutely the worst thing a practice or physician can do. When people get in trouble for bad outcomes, it’s because they become defensive and try to blame the patient, as opposed to being proactive and taking steps to mitigate the possibility of further bad outcomes in the future.

Making sure your practitioners obtain properly executed informed consent is one way you can reduce your practice’s potential liability. This means that you need to make sure that all your consent forms are up to date and that a thorough dialogue with all patients regarding consent has occurred.

Informed consent is not a cure-all, however. Most medical malpractice attorneys will tell you that a signed, up-to-date consent form is something they have no problem dealing with. But at the very least, properly executed informed consent gives you a leg to stand on. It shows a certain amount of professionalism and conveys the notion that the practice acted in good faith. Additionally, make sure that your medical spa is thoroughly compliant with all state rules and regulations. This shows that you have created an infrastructure for safety and compliance at your practice.

A Matter of Respect

Moreover, studies indicate that if your medical spa is pleasant, empathetic, and responsive, and patients have a good experience, they will be much, much less likely to sue if a bad outcome takes place. The issues associated with bad outcomes don’t just start when the treatment occurs—they begin the moment a patient begins to interact with the medical spa.

Do your patients feel like they’re important, that they’re being respected, and that the practice is concerned with their well-being? If so, nine times out of 10, they are going to want to work with you to turn a bad outcome into a good one. Schedule a follow-up appointment as soon as possible, give them advice, and return their phone calls, e-mails, and texts right away. If you do this, these patients may actually become more loyal and say better things about your practice, because, generally speaking, people understand that things don’t always go as expected. They simply want the doctor and staff to listen to them, take responsibility, and do whatever they can to make it right.

Practices tend to run into problems with bad outcomes when they get defensive, blame the patient, and refuse to listen to the patient’s concerns. When this happens, an aggrieved patient is going to be far less inclined to work with you on a solution.

Problematic Patients

Of course, some patients simply can’t be reasoned with, and not engaging with these people in the first place is a key to avoiding complications related to bad outcomes. The medical aesthetic industry attracts more than its fair share of very passionate people, and most of the complications related to bad outcomes involve patients who are not responsive, don’t follow the guidelines given to them, or are just straight-up crazy. If you can avoid engaging with these patients, you can eliminate many of the problems associated with bad outcomes that you might otherwise encounter. Screen your patients thoroughly in order to determine if there are any red flags before you embark on a course of treatment.

If a problem will be solved by giving the customer a refund, it’s almost certainly worth it. However, if you do this, have your lawyer draw up a refund agreement that releases you of responsibility for the outcome in return for the refund. If a patient threatens to sue you, contact your lawyer immediately; even if it does turn out to be an idle threat, you have to take it seriously.

The Best Policy

More than anything else, you should be completely forthright and honest when dealing with a bad outcome. The cover-up is always worse than the crime. The more you contort your narrative to try to create a reality in which your practice doesn’t look so bad, the more problems you create for yourself. Tell your lawyer and your insurance carrier the truth about the situation, and they’ll do their best to recommend a viable course of action.

To learn more about the legalities that govern medical aesthetics, sign up to attend an AmSpa Boot Camp. At these events, attendees learn how to operate medical spas compliantly and profitably.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law 

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Generation X Helps Drive Medical Spa Business

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 14, 2019

gen-x business owners

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

Financial experts often talk about how certain generations of people affect business. You often will hear about how the wealth and spending power of Baby Boomers impact the economy as they enter their retirement years. You also will hear about how Millennials are driving markets and marketing with their enigmatic spending habits. And finally, you will hear about how Generation Z is making its mark using social media and moxie.

However, you typically do not hear much about Generation X—the post-Boomers who came of age in the late ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s. The youngest Xers are currently entering middle age, and as boomers continue to retire, they are the ones who are inheriting positions of leadership, with salaries to match. CNBC.com published this piece by Stephanie Neal and Richard Wellins, which describes how members of Gen X are quietly beginning to dominate the world of business.

One key takeaway of this article is that while Millennials are generally considered to be the most tech-savvy generation to date, Generation X is perhaps even more plugged in. On social media channels, many of the “stars” and “influencers” are Millennials, but Gen Xers are just as connected—they always have phones in their hands, and they are always using the internet. They do not produce as much content as Millennials, but they are every bit as adept at viewing and manipulating it. Many Xers came of age just as the internet did, and they played significant roles in its evolution. And because many of them began their careers when the internet played a much smaller role in commerce, they developed many of the Boomers’ character traits—they are industrious, driven and entrepreneurial. They offer numerous useful traits of the generations that came directly before and followed after them—they are a combination of the analog and the digital.

Because of all this, Gen Xers are beginning to have an enormous impact on business—including the medical aesthetics industry. They are running medical spas, device manufacturers and marketing firms, and it is very likely that they will continue to do so for many, many years to come, so marketing professionals should not underestimate Xers. Obviously, consumers drive business, and since Millennials are such an enormous population—they are the largest demographic group in the U.S. by a growing margin, according to most estimates—they are very important in this regard. However, many people who are running businesses and pushing them in exciting new directions are, in fact, Gen Xers.

At AmSpa’s Boot Camps (click here to learn about this year’s remaining events) and The Medical Spa Show (save the date: January 31 – February 2, 2020), the overwhelming majority of the medical spa owners I meet are Gen Xers. They’re in their upper 30s and 40s, and they’re making things happen. Understanding how they think and act will be a key to finding success, especially when establishing business-to-business relationships. Do not underestimate Generation X—they will certainly be key to your medical spa’s success for a long time.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  The Medical Spa Show 2020 

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