September 7, 2022

Partnering Up: Finding the Ideal Medical Director for your Med Spa

Moxie Team

Finding the right medical director is a must if you're planning to open a med spa. This person will act as your business partner and oversee the practice's medical treatments and operations, providing you with their endorsement and your clients with their medical expertise. It's essential to take time to find someone who brings the best to your partnership and the business.

Are you a registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA) opening (or exploring the possibility of opening) a med spa? If so, you're likely already looking for or speaking to potential medical directors.

Laws and regulations about med spa ownership vary from state to state. Still, they typically necessitate the involvement of a licensed medical professional (physician or nurse practitioner) who can act as medical director. 

Your medical director (MD) is your partner in your med spa, legally and medically, deciding what to offer and who to treat in your practice. They're your collaborator for all protocols and advisors for navigating complex patient situations. This article discusses what a medical director is and explores the essential qualities to look out for in a medical director. We also provide vital questions to ask a potential partner as you decide on this crucial partner.

What is a medical director?

Med spas are medical practices and, as such, are often owned and run by doctors. However, in some states, RNs, NPs, and APs can open their med spa by partnering with a medical director. 

To start, a medical director must be a licensed, certified physician in your state.

Depending on state regulations, the medical director may need to own or be a significant partner in the medical practice. You may need to organize the ownership structure as a medical practice paired with a management services organization (MSO). The medical director owns the medical practice, and non-physician owners sell services to the practice through the MSO. The level of involvement of the medical director varies depending on state legislation.

Can a nurse practitioner be a med spa medical director?

Nurse practitioners exist in a grey space in the world of medicine. With more authority than RNs, NPs often serve a similar role as physicians in many locations. 

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the following states grant NPs full practice authority, meaning that they can potentially operate as medical directors for Med Spas:

Alaska Arizona Colorado Connecticut
D.C. Delaware Hawaii Idaho
Indiana Iowa Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Minnesota Nebraska Nevada
New Hampshire New Mexico North Dakota Oregon
Rhode Island South Dakota Vermont Washington

What are the responsibilities of a medical director?

The responsibilities of your med spa's medical director will vary depending on the state you live in and its legislation. Common responsibilities include: 

  • Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of patients
  • Evaluating and diagnosing patients
  • Obtaining patient consent before performing any medical procedures
  • Administering treatments according to stringent medical practices and training and educating all staff
  • Maintaining proper documentation throughout the treatment process

How to find a medical director for your med spa

Before starting your search, you must know what you're looking for. Make a list of the qualifications you're looking for, from professional competencies to personality traits. This will help you to narrow down your options and select the right candidate for the job.

There are a few ways to seek out your new medical director. First, consider creating a detailed job posting that specifies what you're looking for in a medical director. The more specific your posting is, the more likely you will appeal to the right candidate.

Otherwise, you may want to make use of your professional network. Attending events where medical professionals congregate can provide the perfect opportunity to find an MD interested in partnering with you.

There are also directories of local doctors where you can read details and ID doctors from your area who already have positive patient reviews.

How to find a medical director that meets minimum compliance requirements in your state

Each state has different requirements, and the absolute bare minimum you should expect is to meet your state's requirements. Enter the conversation knowing those requirements, so everybody understands their responsibilities. For example:

  • Are they currently licensed in your state? 
  • [State dependent] Will they perform good faith exams? Can they be done over telehealth?
  • [State dependent] Will they be willing to work with an MSO-PC ownership structure? If yes, do they have a PC registered in your state?
  • Do they need to review at least 10% of the charts every month?
  • Based on the license you have, do they need to write the prescription?
  • Do they need to be within a certain commuting distance of your practice?
  • Do they need to review and approve all medical hires and new treatments? 
  • Are they willing to be on-call in the event of an adverse event? 

Finding a medical director who goes above and beyond: A true partnership for your med spa

Some med spa owners simply want to meet all legal expectations and keep it at that. Others might look for a higher degree of support and partnership across your practice:

You can conduct weekly or monthly calls with your medical director to discuss specific patients or treatments. You can also discuss treatments you're considering offering in the future to ensure they're comfortable before you train or shadow on something.

What medical directors look for in a med spa 

Medical directors take on risk and legal liability in choosing to work with you: you're choosing each other. While you're assessing them for fit and suitability, they're also evaluating you. 

From speaking with dozens of medical directors, here are a few of the things we know they're looking for:

  • Training: what certifications have you received? Did your training include injecting live models?
  • Shadowing: have you shadowed an experienced injector to see more treatments in a natural environment (vs a training setting)?
  • Work experience: have you done the treatments you're looking to offer professionally (part-time or full-time)?
  • Clinical experience and attitude: do you take your responsibilities seriously and understand the risks? Do you have a track record of clinical excellence in your previous roles?
  • Business sense: this one's less obvious, but medical directors we've spoken with want to be a part of successful med spas. They're looking for people they believe will not only open a business but one that grows and thrives for years to come. 

Interviewing your candidates

When preparing to meet a new medical director, here are a few suggestions: 

  • Introduce yourself and give a bit of background. Remember to emphasize your commitment to regulatory compliance, following protocols, going above and beyond to build a business, and taking clinical excellence seriously.
  • Speak confidently about your business and your partnership with Moxie. Medical directors want to make sure you are serious about starting this business and will be successful.
  • Send your resume in advance so the medical director can review your work history.
  • Google the medical director before your conversation, so you know a bit about them and can show you've done your research. 
  • Demonstrate excitement by the possibility of working with them 

A few questions you might want to ask them:

  • How many med spas do they work with?
  • How long have they been doing this? What got them into aesthetics? 
  • Are they trained in botox, fillers and other med spa treatments (like PDO threads)?
  • What economic arrangement are they looking for? 
  • What do they look for in providers they supervise? 
  • What would working together look like for them? 
  • How do they prefer to communicate with their providers? Phone, text, video call, email?

At the end of the call, ask if they're interested in working with you. Be sure to understand where they stand and what hesitations, if any, they have. 

In summary

It is important for med spas to have a qualified medical director to oversee all medical procedures and ensure the highest level of care for clients. The medical director should be a licensed medical doctor with experience in the field of aesthetics, and should be responsible for creating and implementing policies and protocols for the med spa. In addition, the medical director should be involved in the hiring and training of staff, and should be available to consult with clients and address any medical concerns or questions. It is also essential for the medical director to maintain up-to-date knowledge of the latest technologies and techniques in the field of aesthetics.

Overall, the medical director plays a crucial role in the success and reputation of the med spa, and it is important to take the time to carefully select the right individual for this role.

Great medical directors are ultimately about personal fit. Knowing what you're looking for will help you to narrow down potential candidates and find the right fit for your business.

Finding the right medical director for a med spa can be a challenge, so we’re here to help. Learn More About Moxie and How We Can Help You Open Your Own Med Spa >

*This article is intended to provide a general guide on what professional licenses and conditions are needed to operate a practice or perform certain treatments. This information alone does not authorize, certify, or confer the ability of anyone to perform these treatments, practice outside their scope, or violate the corporate practice of medicine.

While based on currently available information, the rules and policies on scope of practice issues and ownership can, and do, change frequently. Specific training, education, supervision, protocol and regulatory requirements will differ depending on each person's situation in their state. Therefore, each person must examine their own professional situation, skill level, regulating board guidance, and scope of practice before proceeding.

You should not act upon this information without seeking knowledgeable legal counsel that takes into account the laws of your specific jurisdiction. All uses of the content of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited.

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