For information only. Not meant as advice in any form. Please consult your medical professional or lawyer.
Many nurse practitioners take up aesthetic medicine training programs to perform different medical spa services, from laser treatments to injectables, like Botox Cosmetic and dermal filler. Some would also expand their careers and consider opening a medical spa business, a lucrative industry with competitive demands. But due to some restrictions, a registered nurse or anyone without a medical license may encounter more hurdles.
So how can a nurse practitioner open a medical spa? Most states only allow a licensed physician to own a medical spa. Because of this, a nurse practitioner can only open one by setting up a management services organization (MSO), partnering with a licensed physician and having a minority interest, or pursuing a career in medicine to obtain a medical license. Seek legal advice to learn more about the qualifications of medical spa ownership in your state.
How Nurse Practitioners Can Open Their Own Medical Spa
The medical spa business is one of the most lucrative ventures today because of the rising demand for different solutions in medical aesthetics. This is also supported by the confidence many people have in these cosmetic solutions — from laser hair removal and laser treatment procedures in general to more interventional treatments, like Botox Cosmetic and dermal filler injections.
It also involves a continuous flow of profit because of the repeated sessions in every treatment. Because of this, many healthcare professionals are switching careers to aesthetic medicine, even considering opening a medical spa.
But opening a medical spa may come with strict regulations because it still operates primarily like a medical practice offering medical services. While healthcare professionals (and non-medics in some states) can perform med spa services, they might face more hurdles in owning one, especially if you’re a nurse practitioner. This is because only a licensed physician is allowed to open a med spa due to the “corporate practice of medicine” doctrine.
A registered nurse can own a med spa by joining a management services organization (MSO). They may also consider partnering with a licensed physician, obtaining a medical license, or opening their med spa in a different state. Some states allow nurses to own a med spa, while some don’t. Seek legal advice to learn more about the regulations in your state.
1. Starting a Management Services Organization
Some states allow registered nurses to open a med spa or become more independent in their medical practice, where they can open anything within the scope of their work. Nurses living in states with stricter regulations can look into setting up a management services organization (MSO) to join business and management services for an aesthetic medicine clinic.
An MSO would allow a registered nurse to open a business providing management services to a physician-owned medical spa, where they can supervise many aspects of the clinic, from branding to human resources. The only factor they can’t manage is the medical services because the medical board or physicians in the med spa are eligible for medical decisions.
What is an MSO?
An MSO or management services organization is an organization or business entity that provides management services to physician-owned businesses. They handle a broad range of key tasks, like human resources, education, training, billing, equipment, HR, office space, payroll, regulatory compliance, IT, equipment, and more. They handle everything except medical services.
How MSOs Work
Nurse practitioners and other non-physicians under MSO can invest and own the equipment, office space, and other things a physician may need to run their medical spa facility, so they can smoothly perform their medical practice.
Some may compare the relationship of an MSO to the physician owning the medical spa as a landlord and a tenant. But the difference is that the compensation for the MSO would depend on the businesses performed by the medical spa. The more patients the medical spa treats, the more the MSO would earn.
The MSO also mitigates the risk for them and the physician — should there be problems or accidents with their practice, there will be fewer liabilities for the physician and more for the MSO. The organization would also pay the medical professional’s liability insurance.
How to Establish an MSO
Instead of opening a medical spa, you can build an MSO and partner with a licensed medical professional to still be at an administrative level of the clinic. Building an MSO puts you more into the business side of a med spa, as the owning physician handles every cosmetic procedure or medical treatment and any other aspects on the clinical side. Here are some of the few ways to build an MSO:
- Create a business plan and concept – define the operations or services your organization can offer, along with your vision and concept. The partnership of an MSO and physician-owned med spa will only work efficiently if they share the same goals. Since you’re just starting, you can either create an outline for the broad areas you can provide or limit yourself to specialty services.
- Organize your financial data – business and partnerships don’t run on visions alone — it must be backed by data and numbers. Crunch the numbers and prepare your financial data specifying the following:
- Capital contribution
- Cash flow
- Required funding
- Management fee your MSO will charge
- Cost analyses
- Secure legal requirements – seek legal advice and discuss the regulations you must abide by. Weigh your options on how to enlist or run your MSO, like deciding if you’ll be a nonprofit organization or you’ll declare as a commercial entity.
- Build your organization – develop your organizational structure, constitution, organizational processes, and policies.
- Declare your MSO – register your MSO in your state and collect your licenses, permits, and other documents.
2. Co-Owning with A Physician
If you won’t consider having an MSO model, you may consider co-owning a medical spa with a physician, but you’d have minority interests. Some states allow this regulation as long as you meet other requirements. Seek legal advice if your state allows this.
Some states that impose strict regulations on medical spa business ownership often allow at least a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant to co-own a clinic with a physician, but with only a minority interest. A physician assistant might even have the privilege to co-own more often than nurse practitioners. This is because they share a licensing board with physicians.
3. Obtaining a Medical License
A nurse practitioner may have a chance at owning a medical spa once they’ve pursued medical school and obtained a license. This might be the longer route among the courses of action provided, but it’s still an option to consider if starting a medical spa is your long-term plan.
4. Opening a Spa in A Different State
Another way for an aesthetic nurse practitioner to open up their own medical spa is to explore setting it up in a different state with more relaxed regulations. These states allow an aesthetic nurse practitioner to also start their own practice and open up medical spas. They won’t require med spa owners to have a specific professional license.
However, you can still expect to clear some requirements before opening your medical spa. A med spa run by an owner without a medical license usually needs to register their business with a medical board or apply to have a license for the health clinic. These licenses are added to other business permits you must have for your medical spa to open.
What Registered Nurses Should Consider Before Starting a Medical Spa
Opening or managing a medical spa with your MSO can be a drastic career leap from your practice as a nurse practitioner. Because of this, you should make all the necessary preparations to realize your vision. Registered nurses should consider knowing these factors before starting a med spa:
- Physician supervision in med spa ownership – should your state allow nurse practitioners to open their med spa, review your guidelines to know if physician supervision is still needed.
- Medical spa services allowed for nurse practitioners – review the guidelines on the services in medical aesthetics services your state will allow for your medical spa.
- Physician supervision in the spa – many states require medical spas to have a physician present in the clinic at all times.
- Training of aestheticians – you must ensure that the aestheticians you’re going to hire are qualified and highly trained.
The Best Medical and Beauty Supplies at FACE Med Store
Opening a med spa offers a challenging yet promising leap for nurse practitioners. The qualifications, leg work, and financial prerequisites to execute those requirements can be great hurdles, but once you’ve defined your plans, it’s no longer impossible.
Connecting with trusted partners is crucial when starting your MSO or medical spa business, even with more specific details, like medical and beauty supplies. For these aspects, you may want to check out FACE Med Store, a trusted partner of many practices across various states. We provide high-quality supplies at reasonable prices. Browse our catalog today to learn more.