California Stiffens Penalties for Non-Physician-Owned Medspas

In an effort to better protect medical aesthetic patients, the state of California has amended its existing regulations regarding the corporate ownership of medical facilities to discourage non-medical professionals from performing cosmetic procedures without medical supervision.
Under current state law, a licensed medical doctor must own 51% or more of a medical spa that offers medical aesthetic procedures. This requirement remains, but the amended bill (California assembly bill 1548 section 2417.5) increases the penalties for violation from a maximum punishment of $1,200 and imprisonment up to 180 days to a maximum punishment of $50,000 or double the amount of the fraud—whichever is greater—and imprisonment up to five years.
Governor Jerry Brown approved the newly amended section 2417.5—authored by Wilmer Amina Carter, et al— on July 17, 2012. It reads, in part:
(a) A business organization that offers to provide, or provides, outpatient elective cosmetic medical procedures or treatments, that is owned or operated in violation of Section 2400, and that contracts with, or otherwise employs, a physician and surgeon to facilitate its offers to provide, or the provision of, outpatient elective cosmetic medical procedures or treatments that may be provided only by the holder of a valid physician’s and surgeon’s certificate is guilty of violating paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 550 of the Penal Code.
(b) For purposes of this section, “outpatient elective cosmetic medical procedures or treatments” means medical procedures or treatments that are performed to alter or reshape normal structures of the body solely in order to improve appearance.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or apply to arrangements currently authorized by law, including, but not limited to, any entity operating a medical facility or other business authorized to provide medical services under Section 1206 of the Health and Safety Code.