The Ultimate Medical Spa Compliance Checklist

    medical spa compliance checklist

    Having your compliance checklist checked off when opening a medical spa is as important as soccer players passing their medical check-ups. 

    If your med spa fails to meet these “compliance tests,” you won’t be able to get in the game.

    So, to avoid receiving a red card for non-compliance right after launching your business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research and understand all the compliance requirements before opening your medical spa.

    From obtaining business licenses to securing building permits and HIPAA certifications, everything must be in order.

    And, if you aren’t a licensed physician, opening a medical spa might be even trickier.

    But don’t worry. 

    We prepared a thorough guide that will help you prepare for the grand opening and make the entire process just a little bit easier! 

    What is a medical spa?

    Med spas combine the best of both worlds.

    A medical spa blends medical and spa services, offering clients aesthetic treatments like anti-wrinkle injections, laser hair removal, and chemical peels alongside traditional spa services. 

    In the Med spa industry, based on the services they provide, various business models exist, such as Aesthetic Spas and Medical Aesthetic Spas.

    Aesthetic Spas cater to clients seeking noninvasive, superficial treatments like anti-aging treatments, and relaxation massages, and a licensed physician typically isn’t required on-site. 

    Medical Aesthetic Spas, on the other hand, offer specialized treatments that only physicians, nurses, or medical aestheticians can provide, including anti-wrinkle treatments and filler injections, and may even offer dermatological treatments.

    Who can open a medical spa in the US?

    In many states, you can’t operate a medical spa unless you are a licensed physician. 

    This requirement stems from the fact that services offered by medical spas, such as skin treatments, injectables, and laser procedures, fall under the legal umbrella of medical practices, and as such, must be carried out by a licensed medical doctor or under their direct supervision. 

    Additionally, in most of the United States, non-licensed physicians are forbidden from opening a medical spa or employing doctors to act on their behalf.

    However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In Alaska and Florida, for example, only a physician’s supervision is required. And in states like New York and Minnesota, nurse practitioners can also own a medical spa under physician oversight.

    Licenses, permits, and certifications you need to open a medical spa: Checklist

    Licensing and legal prerequisites for starting a medical spa can differ based on your state’s regulations, so it’s essential to consult your state’s official website. 

    However, here’s a general overview of what is expected from you when launching a med spa.

    ✅ Business license for med spas

    All businesses must obtain a license to operate, even the small ones. You can apply for this license either through your state department’s website or the U.S. Small Business Administration. The application typically involves providing your personal information, social security number, and business name. 

    ✅ Spa Professional Licenses

    Most spa treatments must be performed by licensed and properly trained professionals. Aestheticians and massage therapists, for instance, must possess state licenses and receive training from accredited programs or schools. It’s also essential for them to continually update their training. 

    ✅ Licensed Physicians

    While physicians may not personally perform every treatment, having qualified medical professionals is important so they can oversee how treatments are performed. The exact requirements vary by state, but typically, you’ll also need a physician or a board-certified plastic surgeon on staff. 

    ✅ Seller Permits

    If you plan to sell products in your med spa in addition to providing services, most states will mandate a retail seller permit. The process is easy, though. You can conveniently obtain this permit online through your state’s official website.

    ✅ Building Permits

    If even minor renovations are necessary, you will need a building permit along with an inspection. So, you need to apply for this permit, as your local fire or safety inspector may also conduct an assessment before approving the work.

    ✅ Certificate of Occupancy

    To acquire this certificate, you’ll need to schedule an inspection with your local property department or government agency. This inspection ensures that your new location adheres to local zoning regulations, meets the required square footage for your services, has the proper water and electrical connections, and adheres to fire safety standards. 

    ✅ HIPAA Certification

    Similar to a medical clinic, your med spa business must meet the HIPAA regulations. You should also train your staff to follow HIPAA regulations when they deal with clients and protect your patients’ confidential information.

    To learn more about HIPPA, read our blog where we talk about what you need to know about HIPPA compliance and social media.

    Operating a medical spa business if you are not a licensed physician

    As we mentioned before, in some states, medical spas are required to be owned by a physician. But if you’re not a doctor but still want to open a med spa, you can do it by establishing a Management Services Organization (MSO) and Management Service Agreement (MSA).

    How it works

    You sign an MSA with a licensed medical doctor who becomes the legal owner of your business. 

    The doctor takes responsibility for supervising, performing, and making decisions related to the medical procedures offered at your medspa. The MSO works closely with the physician to ensure that day-to-day operations meet state medical standards.

    Your role, on the other hand, will involve managing day-to-day operations, including bookkeeping, payroll, marketing, and human resources.

    Medspa compliance by state

    Each state in the US has different requirements when it comes to opening a medical spa business. 

    In some states, even specific services can’t be performed if the practitioner doesn’t have a particular license to perform that service.  

    That’s why conducting thorough research and seeking guidance from a local legal and financial expert before launching your business is a must. 

    To give you some perspective, we covered some states with stricter requirements. 

    Requirements for opening a medical spa in Florida

    • In Florida, anyone can open a med spa business, but it must be supervised by a licensed physician. (Note: the supervising physician is restricted to overseeing just one additional location apart from their primary practice.)
    • When it comes to laser or light-based services, an electrologist license is mandatory for such services. They should be conducted by either a licensed medical doctort (MD) or a physician assistant under the direct supervision of a physician, or by a nurse practitioner who operates under a protocol signed by a physician.
    • Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are authorized to order and administer injections for anti-wrinkle treatment, provided they follow protocols that have been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

    Requirements for opening a medical spa in California

    • In California, medical spas must be exclusively owned by licensed physicians and are required to function as professional corporations rather than limited liability companies (LLCs).
    • All procedures categorized as medical services must be carried out by a licensed physician, or alternatively, by a registered nurse or physician assistant under the close supervision of a licensed physician.
    • Licensed aestheticians and cosmeticians are authorized to perform surface-level microdermabrasion treatments.

    Requirements for opening a medical spa in Texas

    • In Texas, medical spas are restricted to ownership by licensed physicians. 
    • Medspas are required to obtain an operator’s certificate from the Texas Secretary of State, allowing them to be officially listed on the state’s website.
    • Prior to any medical service, a licensed physician or physician assistant must assess the client, prescribe a treatment plan, and provide necessary oversight. 
    • Physicians are not permitted to delegate treatments to estheticians, and estheticians are not authorized to perform laser treatments.

    If you want to learn the specific requirements for the state you plan to open a medical spa in, check with the American Med Spa Association.

    Keep your medical spa compliant with Pabau

    Adhering to the licensing requirements for your med spa is a crucial step in ensuring your business operates within legal boundaries.

    And our software is here to give you a helping hand. 

    Our robust medical spa software will streamline various aspects of your operations with the help of its:

    • Paperless client record management
    • Robust electronic health records (EHR) and charting
    • Pre-built and customizable intake forms 
    • Pre-care and after-care forms
    • Face plotting diagrams and before and after photography
    • Online booking platform

    And much‌, much, more. And all that within a user-friendly platform.

    Before launching your medical spa, ensure compliance

    Opening your own med spa is a really exciting journey, but there’s a lot to be mindful of when it comes to compliance 

    The specific requirements and regulations for opening a medical spa vary by state, with most states requiring a licensed physician to be involved due to the medical nature of many treatments. 

    Some specific licenses, permits, and certificates are essential for compliance, like a business license for a med spa, a building permit, and a HIPPA certificate. 

    However, it’s crucial to research your state’s regulations and seek legal and financial guidance before launching your med spa, as some states offer exceptions, allowing nurse practitioners or other medical professionals to own or operate these services. 

    Finally, if you want to ensure you are practicing safely and documenting patient records in a comprehensive way – as well as creating an A+ client experience – then adding a robust practice management vendor into the mix is also non-negotiable.

    Check out what is considered the best Medical Spa software right now.

    medical spa compliance

    What you should do now

    1. Schedule a Demo to see how Pabau can help your team.
    2. Read more clinic management articles in our blog.
    3. If you know someone who’d enjoy this article, share it with them via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

    See Pabau in action

    Schedule a free demo with one of our team today.

    Book a demo

    Related Articles: