Texas Law & Medical Spas

The first of July (2014), a Texas judge in the 126th State District Court in Austin ruled that the Texas Medical Board Rule 193.17 which sought to impose restrictions on who could practice cosmetic medicine was without "reasoned justification" and should be remanded for further consideration.

Mark one up for the Texas Association of Aesthetic Nurses.

The association had sued asking for the rule to be invalidated and it seems that the judge agreed.

Under Rule 193.17, among a laundry list of requirements, medical spas could not perform nonsurgical medical procedures without having a physician, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant on staff to complete a 10-step process before beginning the procedure. The rule did not, however, require a physician actually be on the premises during the procedure, but rather necessitated only that a doctor be available for an emergency consultation. Judge Yelenosky’s order noted that: The rule allows qualified unlicensed personnel to perform a procedure without a physician or midlevel practitioner onsite during the procedure and without requiring the physician to go onsite in the event of an adverse outcome. Yet the reason given for the rule is that the presence of a physician or midlevel provider during procedures to personally treat or supervise treatment of any complications arising from the procedure insures patient safety. The rule and the justification contradict one another.

According to the ruling it seems that if the Rule were to require a physician or midlevel practitioner to be present during a procedure, it would probably pass muster with the judge.

Although I don't think that Texas has passed specific legislation or adopted particular rules governing medical spa operations (check with your lawer if you're in TX), there has been a number of administrative actions taken related to unauthorized services being performed or the failure of such licensed professionals to adequately supervise the performance of such services. Additionally, the Texas Medical Board has established a rule that requires physicians who perform procedures for which anesthesia services, including the use of analgesics and anxiolytics, are provided in an outpatient setting to register with the TMB. While this TMB registration requirement primarily affects outpatient surgeries performed at licensed Ambulatory Surgery Centers in Texas, the language of the rule would also cover any outpatient surgeries performed in a medical spa that require anesthesia services. A new TMB rule related to nonsurgical medical cosmetic procedures (22 Tex. Admin. Code § 193.17) became effective on November 7, 2013.

Texas often likes to chart it's own course so we'll watch and see where this goes.

My opinion is that a physician should be on site if a NP or PA is not the one administering the treatments. It seems somewhat rediculous to allow the term "medical spa" to be used as it is in Canada and parts of SA and the EU when there's no medical personnel involved. It seems that the medical board in Texas stretched just a little too far in trying to restrict cosmeitic medicine to physicians but not making them be on site.