This advisory on Medical Spa Services provides guidance to those establishments and practitioners who offer medical procedures and treatments associated with medical spas.
The public has increasingly been seeking dermatologic procedures in establishments that operate under different names, but are commonly referred to as "medical spas." Because of the increasing interest in medical spas, the Department of Public Health (DPH), Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification, is advising medical spas on DPH's clinic licensure requirements.
Medical spas are known by a variety of terms. Medical spas may refer to themselves as, or be part of, medical or beauty clinics, walk-in clinics, spas, salons, health clubs, wellness centers, salon, retail locations or other environments. The licensing requirements described below apply regardless of the name of the enterprise.
Massachusetts law requires that clinics be licensed by the Department of Public Health. (See M.G.L. c. 111, § 51.) A clinic is any entity,however organized, whether conducted for profit or not for profit, that is advertised, announced, established, or maintained for the purpose of providing ambulatory medical, surgical, dental, physical rehabilitation, or mental health services. However, the law provides an exception for any such entity if it is wholly owned and controlled by one or more of its medical practitioners and does not use the word "clinic," "institute" or "dispensary" in its name. (See M.G.L. c. 111, § 52 for the definition of "clinic.") Thus, a medical spa that provides medical services is subject to clinic licensure if it is not wholly owned and controlled by one or more of its practitioners.
The following procedures are examples of medical procedures/treatments that must be performed by or under the direction of, or in some cases under the supervision of, a medical practitioner, and are thereby classified as medical services. The procedures include, but are not limited to, laser/light and radiofrequency devices, chemical peels, soft tissue fillers/augmentation, botulinum toxin, and sclerotherapy. Additionally, "medical services" may include any procedure that uses a biologic or synthetic material, chemical application, mechanical device or displaced energy of any kind. Any business that offers these procedures is subject to clinic licensure unless otherwise exempt.