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How to Bring On an Overseeing Medical Director into Your Spa

Over the course of my career thus far, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to work, and partner with so many talented estheticians who take their skill set very seriously and are always striving to enhance their education. Many of these estheticians have poured more training hours into their specialty than some medical directors, however, due to limiting state regulations, many specialists are not allowed to offer specific treatments that they have received extensive training for without a medical license granting them to the ability to “treat” or “diagnose.” In some cases, states that once allowed estheticians to perform these treatments are rolling out new regulations making it necessary for them to obtain and bring on an “overseeing medical director,” which can open up a wider scope of practice for the esthetician and give a greater safety net by being listed under the M.D.’s Certificate of Insurance (COI). While regulations vary by state, and are always changing, it is important to have a game plan in place should you need to pivot your business to be compliant with your state’s regulations. { Your state medical board and the American Medical Spa Association are both reputable sources for beginning your research on the laws in your state. } Once you’ve done your research and considered your likelihood that bringing an M.D. on board with your spa, here are the steps for finding and securing a reputable overseeing M.D.: Just like the bedrock of your business is your client relationships, building out a business structure incorporating a Medical Director will heavily rely on your network. I think it’s nice to start with your network of family and friends first since they can speak to their experience with medical professionals in your area either from a client or personal perspective and may know a qualified candidate looking to expand into aesthetics. You may also find that your primary care provider could be a good person to ask for referrals if you feel comfortable asking them. Once you’ve tapped into your personal network, you’ll want to leverage your professional connections including your skin care reps who typically have extensive networks and lists of contacts, as well as local business and medical organizations, such as local medical schools. When contacting these sources, ask about their upcoming meetings or networking functions to see if there’s an opportunity to meet a potential partner organically. Finally, there’s the old-school method of looking up local physicians (however, I suggest Google and not the Yellow Pages…we’re not going that old school!), scheduling a time to connect and seeing if there could be a partnership opportunity available. After you’ve narrowed down your potential picks of physicians who would be open to partnering as your overseeing M.D., now it’s time to meet and talk business. Here’s what you’ll want to have prepped: When you go to meet with your potential Medical Director, have a concise, yet thorough business plan to present along with copies of all of your certificates of training, plus a resume with a list of your experience and education. These pieces are essential as it’s a risk for an M.D. to take you under their “wing” aka add you to their Certificate of Insurance. Having solid examples of your qualifications helps bridge trust with your potential M.D. that you won’t be a high-risk liability to cover, not to mention, your certificates of training will likely need to be faxed into their insurance company for coverage to kick in. You’ll also want to have a clear idea of your financials and have a number to propose for bringing them on board that benefits them as well as your bottom line. Keep in mind; it can cost them a few hundred dollars (maybe more depending on their plan) to add you to their insurance for the year. And while many Medical Directors are business people and may go back and forth to find the agreement that works, make sure that you’re not selling yourself short. This is still your business, and you want to make sure you are maximizing your profits. Finally, you want to make sure you do your due diligence that this Medical Director has what they need in place to make your business compliant with regulations: Step 1: Have Proof and Signatures Before handing over a single cent to an overseeing M.D. to come on board, you need proof that you’ve been successfully listed on their COI, and you need to have a signed agreement in place outlining the roles of and ensuring that both parties will hold up their responsibilities agreed to in joining in a partnership. Step 2: Seek Legal Counsel Both you, the esthetician, and Medical Director should be advised by proper legal counsel (preferably an M.D, J.D) to ensure that all necessary insurance and regulatory issues are met in accordance with local laws. Step 3: Listen to Your Gut Do you have a good feeling about this person? Is this someone that you want as a partner for the long-term success of your business? Does their moral code, ethics, and vision align with yours? If so, great! Your intuition is powerful, so trust the feelings you get when choosing the right candidate. After all, your MD will be your partner in business, so having a healthy rapport and open lines of communication are essential for sustaining a successful collaboration.

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