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Industry News: State Regs

Controversial TN Bill Currently on the Table for Medical Spas and Physicians

Wednesday, February 17, 2016  
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A bill is currently on the table in Teneessee, HB1909 - SB1815, scheduled to be heard on the House Controversial TN Bill Currently on the Table for Medical Spas and PhysiciansHealth Committee on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. According to Mona Sappenfield, founder and owner of Mona Esthetics in Memphis, Senate Bill 1815-Hensely has passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee with amendments and is currently referred to the Senate Calendar Committee.

The timeline of this legislation, according to Sappenfield, is as follows:

•                       In 2012, a bill was introduced to add cosmetic or aesthetic treatments or procedures to the definition of "practicing medicine," which would have allowed them to be performed only by or under the supervision of a doctor.

•                       The legislature rejected this notion. However, also in 2012, the Senate Health Committee turned the bill into a resolution that directed the Board of Medical Examiners, the Department of Health, the Board of Nursing, the Board of Osteopathic Examiners, physicians assistants and the Board of Cosmetology to promulgate rules and regulations by January 1, 2013 to prescribe standards applicable to the practice of cosmetic procedures or treatments, including laser treatments and chemical peels.

•                       In March of 2013, after a series of hearings and undertaking the study of various regulations and laws and an Attorney General's Opinion, the President of the Board of Medical Examiners and Chairman of the Workgroup on Med Spas issued a four-page letter to the General Assembly outlining their work and making no recommendations for changes in existing rules or law.

•                       However, in 2014, a bill was introduced by an association of doctors in the "med spa" business mandating that when med spas advertised in any form, they must include the certifications, or lack thereof, of their medical director or doctor affiliated with their business.

•                       In 2015, the same group of doctors in the med spa services business introduced another bill to further impose regulatory burdens on their competition. That bill sought to create an "online registry" of businesses in the med spa industry - requiring similar disclosures from the 2014 advertising law to be posted online and now imposing a fee on the registrants as well. Doctors' offices performing identical services attempted to exempt themselves again.

•                       The Med Spa industry said enough is enough and the legislature agreed that they should not be picking favorites in a competitive and thriving business and amended the bill to apply to ALL businesses performing these services and the bill passed in this "level-competition" form.

•                       In 2016 letters went out to all businesses, including the doctors, to begin the registration process and the doctors in the med spa industry have now introduced a bill to remove themselves from the burdensome registry and fee requirement, but leave their competitors subject to the registry and fee regulations 

The NCEA is urging concerned Tennessee medical spa owners to notify their Representatives to solicit support to defeat SB1815 (contact information can be found at tn.gov). The House Health Committee will hear this bill argued Tuesday, February 23, 2016. A sample letter and a bill summary are below. You can also send the Senate Health Committee Chairman a letter.

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