Health Law Highlights

Texas Physicians Push for More Regulation Over Med Spas

From KCENTV, by Baylee Bates:

Physicians are raising concerns over the lack of regulation and policy enforcement in the medical spa (med spa) industry, following the death of Fairfield resident Jenifer Cleveland after an IV treatment at a med spa. Dr. Patricia Aronin, affiliated with the TX400, a group of Texas physicians, has called for changes in the industry, which she describes as largely unsupervised and prone to malpractice.

Med spas, offering services ranging from IV therapy to skincare and cosmetic procedures, have grown in popularity but lack sufficient oversight. According to Dr. Aronin, many people do not realize that these services are medical treatments requiring adequate supervision and record-keeping. She asserts that the current state of affairs has been deteriorating over the past decade and has called for changes before more incidents occur.

The issue is compounded by the structure of the medical industry and Texas law, which has created opportunities for illegal practices within med spas. Dr. Aronin highlights that the Texas Medical Board requires good faith examinations and proper medical record-keeping, both of which she suspects are lacking in many med spas.

In response to Cleveland’s death, the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended the license of Dr. Michael Patrick Gallagher, who served as the medical director at the med spa where Cleveland received her treatment. Dr. Aronin emphasizes that the role of the medical director in med spas is a critical area requiring reform, including clearer guidelines on hiring practices and the responsibilities of the position.

Dr. Aronin also calls for patients to be more proactive in advocating for their health, urging them to inquire about qualifications, practices, and equipment at med spas. She stresses the need for the public to recognize that med spa treatments are serious medical procedures, not casual beauty treatments. As of 2022, 63% of med spas were owned by non-physicians and non-surgeons, according to the American Med Spa Association.