Medical spas are a fairly new but trending industry. This means many medical professionals are entering the space with little knowledge of the compliance and regulations needed to be successful. When performing medical procedures such as liposuction, scar revision, botox, hair replacement, and other similar offerings, physicians, registered nurses, and other certified medical professionals must understand the regulations they are confined to.
One of the most essential requirements is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which may seem frivolous considering the services offered. However, failure to comply with HIPAA can have detrimental effects on the medical spa and any licensed healthcare employees.
Compared to other medical offices, med spas may feel more inclined to use social media and other online forums for advertising their services. However, this can be harmful if not done properly. From a business perspective, you may feel inclined to reply to customer comments and reviews. However, this can be a violation of HIPAA. Responding back to a client may confirm their patient status, even if they were the ones to publicly acknowledge their treatment.
Some examples of language to avoid include:
The best thing med spas can do is to not respond, or be extremely generic in their response to avoid violating HIPAA.
Any images publicly posted on social media, a website, print pamphlets, or other forms of advertising must abide by HIPAA. A patient’s before and after images may not be used without their consent even if it is blurred out. To avoid violating HIPAA, it is best to only post hired models or your own staff.
Aside from the usage, medical spas must also be mindful of how they store images. If before and after photos are taken, it should be done through a professional and protected device. Further, these images should not be stored long-term on the device. This means med spas should be prompt in uploading the images to an encrypted and protected file. The devices must also never leave the office unless the images are cleared from them. This will prevent the accidental spread of confidential patient information.
Due to the nature of services, a virtual consultation may be a common practice for medical spas. Especially popular during the pandemic, these video calls allow the healthcare professional to easily communicate with potential clients about their needs. While telehealth is great for convenient consultations, it carries its own risks. In order to ensure compliance, med spas should be using certified telehealth apps that are designed to protect patient information.
Med spas are known for creating an atmosphere different from those in a traditional medical office setting. While some non-medical services like waxing or facial treatment may be performed in a more open space, medical services must be more private. While aesthetics may be a prime marketing point, a patient’s privacy must come first.
While HIPAA does not directly outline requirements for office structure, it requires covered entities to implement reasonable safeguards. This means medical services should be kept as private as possible to avoid accidental breaches of confidentiality. For example, curtains or private rooms are ideal. This setup can protect the patient from having their treatment disclosed to other parties. As always, working with healthcare attorneys will ensure your facility follows local regulations and is protected from potential HIPAA violations.
Med spas, like any medical facility, require a cautious approach. While their environment may feel lax, medical professionals are still bound to health law regulations like HIPAA. Their license and medical practices can be at risk if they fail to comply with these guidelines.
Opening a med spa practice can be stressful on its own without accounting for the endless paperwork and legal responsibilities. When you work with our team of med spa attorneys, you will be provided with a cautious and individualized approach. Our healthcare lawyers are up to date with California and federal regulations. This allows us to provide superior med spa compliance services so you can focus on your practice.
Contact us today to learn more about the best practices for owning and operating your med spa.