How to Legally Do a Medical Spa

Summary of Article: Medical spas (surgical or non-surgical) can be legal if done properly. Any contract signed by the medical doctor must have the following requirements: (1) non-medical professionals cannot legally work with physicians in a partnership setting; (2) Even if you are a medical professional (e.g. nurse) you cannot open a medical spa by yourself – you must have a physician associated with the medical spa; (3) physicians, while not required to be on-site, must exercise supervision over the facility; (4) the physician must be over 50% shareholder of the company; (5) the company must be an organized healthcare system; and (6) the physician must be responsible for the advertising and marketing.


The Issue: There has been an explosion of cosmetic medicine over the past few years and many physicians are being approached to represent businesses for a fee. In other words, physicians’ licenses are being borrowed. With the increase of medical spas, more issues of malpractice have occurred in the medical community with horrendous consequences of botched surgeries and results. Is this industry legal? This article will explore what California’s view on this exploding industry.


There are several requirements before opening a medical spa. The following are minimums. Therefore, you should seek competent legal advice before opening your medical spa: (1) non-medical professionals cannot legally work with physicians in a partnership setting; (2) Even if you are a medical professional (e.g. nurse) you cannot open a medical spa by yourself – you must have a physician associated with the medical spa; (3) physicians, while not required to be on-site, must exercise supervision over the facility; (4) the physician must be over 50% shareholder of the company; (5) the company must be an organized healthcare system; and (6) the physician must be responsible for the advertising and marketing.


Non-medical professionals cannot legally work with physicians in a partnership setting.


If you hire a physician and do not have a medical background you should know that it is illegal. Only physicians (and other medical professionals) who are licensed in California may own shares in a medical corporation or be a partner in a medical practice.


If you are unlicensed, working with a physician is a criminal act. If you a licensed physician working with an unlicensed person your exposure is even more. In addition to a crime, you may have lose your medical license.


Even if you are a medical professional (e.g. nurse) you cannot open a medical spa by yourself – you must have a physician associated with the medical spa.


Some medical spas are opened by nurses, believing that because one has a medical license they can do whatever they want. This is greatly discouraged. While some nurses may do certain acts, as a general rule, no medical spa should be opened without a doctor associated with it.


Physicians, while not required to be on-site, must exercise supervision over the facility.


Although the medical practice allows for nurses to perform certain procedures, that does not mean that a physician can be relieved of his responsibilities. A doctor must always be available to “supervise” which means to oversee, direct, to have charge, to inspect, and to provide guidance and evaluation. Anything apart from this is illegal.

The physician must be over 50% shareholder of the company.


The majority of stock must be owed by a California licensed physician. Further, no more than 49% can be owned by a non-physician health care professional. At no time, can a medical corporation be owed by a layperson.


The company must be an organized healthcare system.


This means that the Company must follow medical guidelines approved by the government.


The physician must be responsible for the advertising and marketing.


At no time is the physician allowed to delegate his responsibilities for advertising and marketing to a third party.


Conclusion. Medical spas make lots of money (average $100,000.00 or more). However, legally creating one is difficult and with significant risk.

Categories: Business Law