Who Can Own a Medical Spa in California?

Medical procedures that are offered in medical spas must be physician-owned in California. Corporate practice of medicine is not allowed in the state, and only doctors can own and operate a doctor's office, corporation, or business. The doctor must own the office or be employed by the medical corporation or company (which is also owned by licensed doctors). A medical spa in California may not “rent a license” (by hiring a doctor, either a doctor, an osteopathic doctor or a naturopathic doctor) or otherwise violate corporate provisions on the practice of medicine.

Doctors cannot serve only as medical directors of Med Spa, but must operate the Med Spa under their medical practice and license. People who are not doctors, such as nurses, cannot have a property interest in a medical business. Most shares must be owned by a California licensed doctor. In addition, no more than 49% may be owned by a health professional other than a doctor.

At no time can a medical corporation be owned by a layman. Many entrepreneurs and non-medical health professionals see an opportunity on the property of a medical spa, but they are not sure how to proceed. In most of the United States, the services provided by medical spas are considered medical due to the legal doctrine known as “corporate practice of medicine”. Only a doctor or corporation owned by a doctor can own a medical facility and only physicians or physician-owned corporations can charge patients' fees for the provision of medical services. Licensing laws vary wildly by state. For example, in Florida, you don't need to have a medical qualification if you want to own a medical spa.

However, in California, you cannot open a medical spa unless a licensed doctor is a majority shareholder in the company. Violations of California Medical Board regulations and California laws by a doctor owner can mean loss of medical license, fines, criminal charges and penalties, and possible incarceration. Only physicians (and other medical professionals) licensed in California can own shares in a medical corporation or be partners in a medical office. It will be worth your time and money to work with a business lawyer who will guide you and help you complete your medical spa requirements in California and operate in no time. Laser hair removal, spider vein removal and tattoo removal are some of the popular services offered in many medi-spas.

To reap the benefits of these liability protections, it is crucial that the MSO and medical practice are properly formed, and that the MSA be carefully drafted. Management fee cannot be a percentage of medical office bills, and a fixed fee structure is ideal; however, it can be difficult to assess the value of management services when office success is difficult to predict. We have expert professionals and lawyers who will work with you personally and establish your professional medical corporation without problems. Some medical spas are opened by nurses, believing that because you have a medical license you can do whatever you want. Medical spa procedures are considered prescriptive medical devices and “dangerous drugs” (per California Business and Professions Code section 402) and as such are considered medical procedures. Entrepreneurs who are unfamiliar with the state's business laws may face a challenge in terms of medical spa requirements in California.

Physicians do not need to be board-certified to perform the cosmetic procedure, but they must have “sufficient knowledge and training in the procedures being performed”. While some nurses may perform certain acts, as a rule, no medical spa should be opened without a doctor associated with it. All California physicians who own and operate Med Spas must understand the risks to their medical licenses associated with this expansion of their medical practices. Knowing the laws and requirements of medical spas in California before taking any action can save you a lot of time and money.

Theodore Eflin
Theodore Eflin

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