Are Medspa Franchises Cheating Patients?

The following comment by Another Ex was left as part of the discussion on Dermacare Laser Clinics:

medEthics.gifI as a doctor was pressured to sell elective procedures and product, which goes against the medical ethics that governed my practice for so many years.

The problem with getting a client in the treatment room and deciding that the sold package is inappropriate is that Dermacare (at least not in the corporate clinics) does NOT GIVE REFUNDS. I was performing 80 to 90% of the laser treatments and was not available to double check every recommendation made by the sale consultant before money was collected.

It is tough to sell $3900 worth of product to someone who would be better served by a plastic surgeon than by the 3D package.

A doctor cannot defend himself in a malpractice suit with the excuse that he was doing good business or doing what he was told by the office manager. When a nonmedical professional is in authority over a physician, the physician is still liable for the results of doing what he is told. I agree that good business is not always good medicine and vice versa. There has to be a compromise. No company, employer, or senior partner will take the hit for me in a malpractice suit. Ultimately, each doctor has to be responsible for his reputation and license.

I heard a rumor that a corporate medical director was left without corporate legal backup when appearing for a malpractice claim.

Double Dermadare You, any comments?

This comment touches on a point I've made repeatedly, that medical spa franchises using a business model designed to remove the physician as far from the patient as possible are inherently dangerous for the doctor as well as the patient.

While I don't recommend a 'money back guarantee', it's common for a 'sales force' to oversell the treatment leaving the patient dissatisfied. Happens all the time. I can see that physicians (and patients) could potentially find themselves in something of a quandry where the businesses main concern is to sell.