Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law a bill (AB 1548) that aims to protect California patients from unlicensed medical treatments in corporate medical spas and similar entities, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The law targets medical spas that provide a variety of non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as:
- Cellulite treatments;
- Dermal fillers; and
- Laser skin resurfacing.
Current state law requires a medical doctor to own at least 51% of such businesses, and medical spa personnel who treat patients must be supervised by a physician.
Violation of the law is a misdemeanor offense and carries a fine of $200 to $1,200, a 60- to 80-day jail sentence, or both.
Details of AB 1548
AB 1548 increases the maximum fine to $50,000 or twice the amount of fraud, whichever is greater.
It also establishes a maximum two- to five-year sentence in state prison.
Supporters of AB 1548 argued that previous penalties were too low to be a deterrent.
Susan Weinkle -- president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, which co-sponsored the bill with the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery -- in a release said, "Too often, our members are treating horrific complications such as severe burns, missed skin cancer diagnosis and permanent scarring, suffered by patients at the hands of inappropriately trained [and] inadequately supervised individuals in illegal medical spa settings."
She added, "Providing [California] with adequate enforcement tools is critical to preventing future unnecessary patient harm and consumer fraud" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/20).