Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this article after you finish reading.
Medical spas have seen a rapid surge of growth in the last decade, largely due to the increasing demand for their services and more medical professionals being involved in the industry. The scope of these services – and their legal obligations – can vary between states, with some being more lenient than others.
So how will this environment affect any plans of opening a med spa in Kentucky? While Kentucky is one of the states where it can be easy to open a med spa, potential med spa owners should be aware of the regulations that they should follow regarding the ownership and operation of their medical spa. More importantly, they should also keep an eye out for any changes to legislation that can affect operation and ownership.
Because Kentucky has lagged behind compared to other states with their regulations about med spas, it can be somewhat easy to create a medical spa without having to go through strict requirements.
This doesn’t mean that there are no rules at all governing med spa operation: federal guidelines from the Department of Health are still in force since medical spa services count as medical services. If your practice doesn’t conform to these federal standards, you can be sued in court.
This is why it’s important to involve a medical professional and a healthcare attorney as much as possible when trying to open a med spa in Kentucky. Not only will they help you avoid litigation, but they can also ensure that your med spa is compliant with regulations.
Opening a medical spa in the state of Kentucky can be easier than expected, but that also just increases the risk that potential business owners can miss something crucial for compliance or operation before they open their doors for business.
Here’s a brief overview of the basics you’ll need before you own and start operating a med spa in Kentucky:
Most states generally follow the guidelines of corporate practice of medicine, where companies cannot profit from the practice of medicine, and physicians cannot be employed to provide medical services. This can be an issue for medical spas since they usually require a medical professional to administer treatments – but at the same time, do not monetarily benefit from them.
This is where MSOs, or Management Services Organization, gets involved. An MSO is basically a partnership that allows a non-medical professional like an investor or a businessman to control the business side of owning and operating a medical spa, leaving the medical side to the actual professionals. This avoids a conflict of interest and keeps the medspa compliant with local regulations.
Despite not being a medical procedure in the sense that you’re treating a disease, a medical spa is still subject to OSHAA regulations. This means that you’ll need to have written protocols in place that cover everything about the operation of your medical spa, from the way you usually administer treatments to the disposal of specific byproducts from your procedures like sharps.
Most states dictate that your medical director should be a trained and licensed medical professional since they should be on-site to administer and oversee all cosmetic treatments in your medspa. However, the exact staff that will be providing these services – people like injectors – can often be subject to the opinions of the Board of Nursing.
Because Kentucky doesn’t have clearly defined rules about specific injectors, you should have both nurse practitioners and physician assistants on staff to administer specific treatments. A registered nurse or a plastic surgeon can also help in case regulations change or more expert oversight is needed.
One particular area of concern for Kentucky med spa owners (current or potential) is Kentucky HB340, or an amendment to Kentucky Revised Statutes – Chapter 317A.
In summary, this amendment looks to define the terms “medical spa” and “medical esthetic service”, putting these types of practices under the direct oversight of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
What does this mean for medical spa owners and staff? Here are some of the following changes that you may need to keep in mind:
Under the changes proposed by this act, it can be potentially harder for non-doctors or non-medical professionals to be involved in the operations and oversight of a med spa. This doesn’t lock them out of being involved altogether – that’s what MSOs are for – but such a change would make opening a med spa in Kentucky more difficult.
HB340 is currently pending in the Senate as of March 2022, and its progress can be tracked here. We advise all med spa owners in the state of Kentucky to keep an eye on this act for further details.
While Kentucky may be an easier place to set up a medical spa – especially if you don’t have a nursing education per se – this doesn’t exempt your medspa from following federal regulations about your treatments. Potential business owners should also keep an eye on the legal landscape of the rules surrounding the ownership and operation of medical spas.
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The information and answers contained in this article provide a general guide to certain laws that apply to “medical spas” and cosmetic medical treatment in this particular state. The information on this site is for general reference only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed as medical spa legalities and regulations change very frequently. This information is not intended to provide legal advice, and it should not be relied upon as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. To our readers: You should not act upon this information without seeking knowledgeable legal counsel that takes the laws of your jurisdiction into account.