Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Register
AmSpa Now
Blog Home All Blogs

The Top 5 Med Spa Law Tips to Know Before You Open

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2018

By: Alex R. Thiersch, JD, Founder/Director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Med spa law can often be a maze of state and federal regulations, crossed with a litany of regulatory board opinions and years of case law that can differ widely from state to state. However, although the business is complicated, understanding the following five pieces of advice can help you tremendously.

Medical spas are medical facilities.

You may be forgiven for thinking that medical aesthetic facilities operate under the same set of regulations that govern the non-medical facilities with which they are often associated like day spas and retail centers. However, medical spas are medical facilities and must be operated as such. This is the most important piece of advice a health care attorney can give medical spa professionals who are operating medical spas.

Understand your corporate structure.

Because medical spas are medical facilities, their corporate structures are more important than you might think. The regulations governing medical practices in most states recognize the “corporate practice of medicine,” which states that medical practices must be owned by physicians or physician-owned corporations. This can impact several aspects of medical spa ownership, including the next piece of advice.

See AmSpa’s webinar on the MSO structure for information on owning a med spa if you are not a doctor, and if you live in a state that recognizes the corporate practice of medicine.

Do not reward employees with commissions.

In states that observe the corporate practice of medicine, payment for medical services must be made in full to the owner of the practice—a physician or physician-owned corporation. If a practice rewards employees for bringing in clients with a percentage of their payments, it would constitute fee-splitting, which is often illegal in these states. You can, however, reward employees with a structured bonus system, such as the compensation plan available in the AmSpa store.

A medical professional should always be onsite.

It’s fairly uncommon that the physician who owns or operates a medical spa is actually in the building. However, proper delegation and supervision must be practiced at all times. A physician is typically allowed to delegate day-to-day activities to other medical professionals, and having a mid-level practitioner—a nurse practitioner or physician assistant—onsite to supervise the non-licensed employees who typically administer treatments helps to keep the practice safe from lawsuits that may arise from accusations of improper care.

For more information on medical malpractice lawsuits, listen to Medical Spa Insider Episode 3, in which AmSpa Founder/Director Alex Thiersch interviews patient advocate law firm Sukhman|Yagoda on tips to avoid being sued by patients.

Consult a health care attorney as soon as possible.

Even though it might seem cost-prohibitive when you’re opening a medical spa, it is in your best interest to engage a health care attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can advise you about the numerous issues that can hamstring an aesthetics practice, including helping you create contracts that conform to your state’s laws. For example, if you want to craft an enforceable non-solicitation clause for an employee contract, a health care lawyer can help you with that. An attorney can also help you understand how best to utilize marketing tools, such as social media and how to make sure that you respect patient privacy at all times. It’s often said that it costs twice as much for an attorney to fix a problem than it would to prevent that problem from occurring in the first place, so make sure to consult a health care lawyer as soon as you get a chance, if you haven’t already.

(AmSpa members: Be sure to take advantage of your complimentary annual compliance consultation with the business, aesthetic, and healthcare law firm of ByrdAdatto. Additionally, AmSpa members should be sure to access their medical aesthetic state legal summary to find answers to their med spa legal questions.)

If you run a medical spa practice, there’s a high probability that you’re going to get sued—there’s really no way around it. However, if you heed the advice presented here, you will help to protect yourself from potentially disastrous consequences.

For more information on medical spa legal necessities, and to gain the tools to run your practice efficiently and profitably, attend an AmSpa Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp, and be the next med spa success story.

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

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Medical Spa Business Advice: Make Fair Deals

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 21, 2018

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

In his 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, company chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, said, “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.” This might seem counterintuitive to the shark-like practices that are celebrated in certain sectors of the modern business world today, but I believe that if you conduct all your dealings fairly and ethically, you will give yourself a good chance for success.

When you go into business and begin forming partnerships, agreeing to contracts, and making deals with others—whether they are employees or external businesses—you should always strive to make fair deals. In other words, don’t scramble after every last dollar and screw people over just so that you can feel like you’ve “won” something. Some businesspeople will do anything to achieve this feeling, but deals don’t have to have winners or losers—a fair deal allows everyone to get what they want.

For example, if you’re negotiating with someone who you know is undervaluing his or her position, don’t try to take advantage of it just to save a few bucks. You should respect the other party, no matter what. You might even end up paying a bit more than you think you should be paying, but as long as you’re conducting business ethically, you’re likely to build a positive reputation among your peers, which should lead to future opportunities.

I believe in something I call “corporate karma,” which dictates that if you conduct your business fairly, you’ll end up attracting people—employees, business partners, etc.—who are good for your business. In regard to the previous example, if, instead of making a fair deal with the person who is undervaluing his or her asset, you decide to take advantage of his or her inexperience, that person will almost certainly find out what you’ve done and will likely be extremely hesitant to do business with you again. What’s more, he or she is likely to spread word of your shady practices, and you might find yourself frozen out of certain circles because you needed to feel like you “won” the original deal.

There are lots of things in the world of business and finance that you can’t control, but your conduct isn’t one of them. If you approach your dealings ethically and fairly, you’ll improve your chances of success. After all, the best kinds of deals are the ones in which both sides feel as though they’ve won.

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

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Coming to Terms with Sales in Med Spas

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 2, 2018

If you were to create a Venn diagram displaying the relationship between retail sales and medicine, the overlap would represent the medical aesthetic industry. It’s a unique business model that requires the combined efforts of physicians who are experts at treating people and salespeople who excel at getting people in the door.

However, many physicians find the sales side of the equation difficult to engage with. Typically, doctors are taught that medical treatment is not a commodity to be sold—it’s something that is provided when needed. Therefore, when sales enters the equation, as it must in the medical aesthetic business, physicians tend to feel a bit skittish about it.

But sales, at its core, is about building trust and providing education, which in and of itself is not as pernicious as many medical professionals perceive. These people should not be afraid of selling, because all they’re really doing is providing information and building trust so that a patient can make his or her own decision regarding their care. They don’t have to engage in the sort of oily salesmanship they fear if they don’t want to.

For the purposes of medical aesthetic practices, sales are vital. Successful medical spas have established ways to attract and retain patients, and they involve everyone in the practice, from the physician to the receptionist. That requires sales, and it needs processes to work as efficiently as possible.

However, doctors and nurses may be hesitant to engage in sales, because they feel that by doing so, they are in essence forcing treatments upon patients. I’ve heard physicians say that they never sell to anybody, because they don’t believe selling medical treatments is appropriate and never want to feel as though they are using their expertise to profit from a patient who doesn’t know any better.

I can see why they would feel this way, but if properly practiced, selling is not exploitation. Effective sales and marketing is not about forcing anything on anybody. In fact, it’s the opposite—it’s building trust between the provider and the patient, and providing the patient with information so that the patient can make his or her own decision. When doctors are selling most effectively, they are giving their opinions and developing trusting relationships with their patients.

The most effective sales tool at medical spas is a very sincere belief in the services being provided, and that belief must also be shared by everyone working there. Everyone must provide all the information that patients need, so that the patients develop trust and feel comfortable. In time, they’ll make the decisions that are best for them. There’s nothing underhanded about this. Sales equals trust plus education.

Physicians who are skittish about sales should consider that if you’re doing it right, you’re not really “selling” anything—you’re simply giving the clients the tools to make their own choices. It’s absolutely vital that aesthetics practices have this in their toolbox and have a structure for it, because if they don’t, another medical spa absolutely will. Successful practices understand that sales in this space is about education, and they have ways to track what is resonating with clientele and what is not.

Doctors and nurses need to get over their fear of sales by recalibrating their perception of what it means to sell. Simply suggesting a course of treatment and providing supporting information is not nefarious if the doctor doing this genuinely believes in what he or she is saying. You don’t need to get down in the muck if you don’t want to. A physician who shoots straight and tells the truth is likely going to find more success than one who always says what the patient wants to hear in order to make a buck.

AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps can teach you how you and your staff can look at your services differently, and can use sales techniques to ensure your patients achieve the best possible treatment results. AmSpa’s next Boot Camp is in Denver on May 19–20.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Forgotten Generation - Med Spas and Generation X

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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

These days, it is not at all unusual to hear experts talk about how certain generations of people are affecting business. You’ll hear about how the wealth of Baby Boomers impacts the economy as they enter their retirement years. You’ll hear about how Millennials are driving markets and marketing with their somewhat inscrutable spending habits. And you’ll hear about how Generation Z is getting things done using social media and moxie; we featured a look at Generation Z a few weeks ago, in fact.

However, you don’t hear a lot about Generation X—the post-Boomers who came of age in the late ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s. The youngest Xers are currently staring down middle age and, as boomers continue to retire, they are the ones who are going to be in charge, if they aren’t already. CNBC.com recently published this piece by Stephanie Neal and Richard Wellins, which describes how and why members of Gen X are quietly beginning to dominate leadership positions in businesses.

One of the key takeaways of this article is that while Millennials are typically considered to be the most tech-savvy generation to date, Generation X is, if anything, even more plugged in. On Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, many of the “stars” are Millennials, but Gen Xers are just as connected—they always have a phone in their hand, and they’re always on the Internet. They don’t produce as much content as Millennials, but they’re just as adept at viewing and manipulating it. Many of them came of age just as the Internet did, and they played significant roles in its evolution. But because many of them began their careers when the internet played a much smaller role in business, they inherited many of the same character traits as the Boomers—they are industrious, hard-working, and entrepreneurial. They feature useful traits of the generations directly before and after them—a combination of the analog and digital, if you will.

As a result, and as a consequence of their age, Gen Xers are going to have an enormous impact on business—including the medical aesthetics industry—for the foreseeable future. They’re going to be running medical spas, device manufacturers, and marketing firms for many, many years to come, so their influence is underestimated at one’s peril. Consumers drive business, and since Millennials are such an enormous population, they’re very important in this regard. But many of the people running businesses and pushing them in exciting new directions are Gen Xers.

At AmSpa’s Boot Camps (join us in Denver on May 19 and 20) and The Medical Spa Show (save the date—February 8 - 10, 2019), the overwhelming majority of the medical spa owners I meet are Gen Xers. They’re in their upper 30s and 40s, and they’re getting things done. Understanding how these people think is going to be a key to finding success, especially in terms of establishing business-to-business relationships. So don’t sleep on Generation X—understanding them is going to be very important for a long time.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Letter From the Director: Thank You!

Posted By Aly Boeckh, Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Alex Thiersch here, director of AmSpa. I’m back from AmSpa’s first ever Medical Spa Show and, after sleeping for 3 days straight, I wanted to reach out to all of you and say THANK YOU to each of you who attended. The turnout and feedback we received was absolutely overwhelming and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who turned up to show their support. Anyone who was there can attest to the fact that the energy at the meeting was palpable. And the most exciting thing to me wasn’t the speakers (which were incredible), the diverse and engaged exhibitors (all of whom brought their A game), or even the absolutely incredible facility (Aria has to be one of the coolest resorts in the US). 


No, the thing I was most proud of was you, the attendees. How incredible was it to FINALLY get everyone in the industry together, in one place, for an event that was dedicate solely to med spas? We had nearly 250 med spas represented from all over the country (even Canada, Chile and Africa!), from all different walks of life, representing an incredible array of innovation, technology, grit, and entrepreneurship. And again…the energy, the excitement about the future, and the goodwill of all who were there was truly overwhelming. I’ve been to many conferences, and I have to tell you I have never experienced a group of people so engaged with one another, so excited to be part of something, but most of all, so nice. This industry is on rocket fuel right now, and so long as all of you continue to pour your heart and soul into growing into a profitable, safe, compliant industry, I promise that we at AmSpa will put all of our resources to bear to support each and every one o f you. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it, so thank you, each of you, for your participation in the meeting.

I did want to plug our Boot Camps since many of you have asked about them. For those of you who haven’t been, AmSpa has been putting on Medical Spa and Aesthetic Bootcamps for three years now. These are different from the Medical Spa Show in that they are two days of extended, intense training in an MBA-style format. We limit the number of attendees and offer extended periods for our speakers to teach – 60 to 90 minute sessions, minimum. Many of the incredible speakers you saw at the show are there to teach you everything they know about how to run a profitable aesthetic practice. Regardless of whether you are open, getting ready to open, or just thinking about opening, I can’t recommend enough coming to a Boot Camp. But beware – it’s an intense two days, and you will leave absolutely exhausted, filled with information, but incredibly pumped up to move forward. And if anyone has any doubts, we are more than happy to refer you to over 300 satisfied customers who have attended, any one of whom will be happy to discuss their experience. 

We’re kicking off our Boot Camp season in Rosemont on March 10-11 (this is the city that O’Hare Airport is located in Chicago, so it’s super easy for anyone in the country to get to … it’s being held at the Hilton Rosemont, which even offers a shuttle to and from the airport), and have six other dates planned. With our increased membership and the attendance at the Medical Spa Show, these dates are already filling up and they will sell out. So check your calendar and sign up right away because we don’t want anyone to miss out!

Thanks again to all of you, and we look forward to a strong and successful 2018!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Value of No

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

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

When you visit a grocery store and peruse the cookie aisle, you might be surprised to find that where there used to be just a few varieties of Oreo cookies, there are now several, including some that seem somewhat bizarre. (Swedish Fish Oreos, anyone?) Similarly, a stroll to the liquor department reveals a wide variety of flavored vodka, whereas previously the only flavor of vodka was… well, vodka. Finally, when you look at the candy at the checkout counter, you’ll find that among the tried and true chocolate bars and fruit chews, there are at least a few new selections that you’ve never seen before, and chances are they’re produced by established companies.

For enormous multinational corporations like the ones that manufacture these products, it’s understood that more is more. With Oreo, for example, as long as its classic chocolate and vanilla crème sandwich cookies continue to sell, the company will be fine, and it can afford to say yes to strange limited-run flavors such as Peeps Oreos. But most companies are not in this position, so business owners—including medical spa owners and operators—need to understand the value of saying no.

People are taught that being adventurous is a good thing—that if you say yes to every opportunity presented to you, you’ll live a fuller, more audacious life. In business, however, this can be a risky tactic. The Harvard Business Review website recently posted an article titled “The Art of Strategy Is About Knowing When to Say No,” by HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, that illustrates the circumstances under which conscientious businesspeople should consider saying no to an idea that is presented to them, even if it seems like a good one. This is excellent advice for those in the field of medical aesthetics.

Consider this: If your medical spa is making good money with injectibles, it might seem like a natural next step to buy a CoolSculpting machine or two and expand your menu. But unlike Oreo, a medical spa has a finite amount of resources, and unless you know your market is teeming with people who want CoolSculpting and can’t get it anywhere else, you’re taking a major risk by diverting employees and marketing capital from a successful area of your business to something that, while potentially lucrative, is totally unproven.

This might seem antithetical to the common idea that a business should always be looking to expand, but in reality, there’s nothing at all wrong with passing on an opportunity like the one mentioned above, particularly when you’re trying to gain market share. You need to understand what you want to achieve with your business and stay focused on that instead of altering your vision every time a bright, shiny new opportunity comes your way. If buying a CoolSculpting machine and expanding your menu fits into your business plan, then by all means, go for it. But if you feel the risk outweighs the potential reward, there’s nothing at all wrong with saying no.

If you’re interesting in discussing business issues like this and many others with leading medical aesthetic industry professionals, you should definitely plan on joining AmSpa at one of our Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps this year. Click here to find out when we’re coming to a city near you and sign up to take part in this excellent educational opportunity. We hope to see you there!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

3 Tips for Opening a Medical Spa

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 18, 2018

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

There’s more to how to open a medical spa than just being an excellent medical aesthetic practitioner. Of course that is important, but there are basic business and legal compliance steps you also need to take to make sure you are successful in the long term. In 2017, we at the American Medical Spa Association (AmSpa) educated more than 300 medical aesthetic professionals on business and legal best-practices in the industry, approximately 70% of whom were just getting into non-invasive medical aesthetics.

When you’re starting out in the medical aesthetic business, it can seem like you need to learn about an overwhelming number of concepts, from effective retail strategy to regulatory compliance. Attending an AmSpa Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp can be extremely advantageous, because you can obtain a great deal of information in a short period of time. Here are previews of three very general things you need to do when you open a medical spa (you can learn more about each one at a Boot Camp near you.)

1. Draft a business plan

Business plans can be a real pain to create, but they are an important exercise. Creating a business plan requires you to think critically about details, such as: 
What your marketing strategy is going to be;
What your market is going to be;
Who your typical customers are going to be—how much do they make, are they male or female, how old are they, etc.;
Where you’re going to be located; 
What your brand is going to look like;
What the customer experience is going to be;
How much money you have;
How much money you’re going to spend;
And so forth. 
When you do this and then build it out for three to five years with a budget in a pro forma format, it gives you a good idea of how much money you’re going to need in order to actually operate your medical spa before you profit. 

For guidance, see the comprehensive medical spa business plan template available in the AmSpa store.

2. Work with an accountant or financial planner

When people start businesses, they often don’t know how to read and understand financial reports. Even I came up short in this regard when I started my first business. However, it is crucial that you learn how to do this. You need to know what a profit-and-loss statement is (a P&L), what a balance sheet is and how to make a proper budget, as well as understand what different metrics mean so that you can track your progress, make informed decisions, and plan for the future.

I tend to think that most entrepreneurs are just winging it, and sometimes that’s okay, but often it ends up leading to real disaster. Therefore, it’s vital that you get a grip on this aspect of your practice, generally by consulting with someone who has specialized training in business finance. An accountant or financial planner certainly can help with that.

3. Consult with a local health care corporate attorney

A local health care attorney will help you understand the regulatory issues facing medical spas. I am a lawyer, so you might view this as somewhat self-serving, but the truth of the matter is that medical spas are running afoul of regulatory agencies more and more, as we’ve highlighted in this space in recent weeks, so it is a very real issue. You’ll end up spending far more money fixing problems that you create by doing things incorrectly than you will if you first engage a lawyer who knows what he or she is doing.

As a rule of thumb, you should expect to spend $15,000 to $20,000 in legal and accounting fees during your medical spa’s first year in existence. That will go toward creating the company, ensuring that you’re compliant, creating contracts, creating consent forms, establishing standard operating procedures, and so forth.

You can learn more about these and many other topics at AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps. Click here to learn more about how you can join us at a Boot Camp this year.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Contact Us

224 N Desplaines, Ste. 600S
 Chicago, IL 60661

Phone: 312-981-0993

Fax: 888-827-8860

Mission

AmSpa provides legal, compliance, and business resources for medical spas and medical aesthetic practices.

Follow Us: