Who Can Own a Medical Spa in California?

Medical spas that offer medical procedures must be owned by doctors. Most shares must be owned by a California licensed physician, with no more than 49% being owned by a health professional other than a doctor. At no time can a layperson own a medical corporation. It's understandable that many non-medical businessmen and healthcare professionals see an opportunity in medical spa ownership, but they may not be aware of the legal requirements.

In the US, the services provided by medical spas are considered medical, and under a legal doctrine known as the “corporate practice of medicine”, only a doctor or a corporation owned by a doctor can own a medical facility. In addition, only physicians or corporations owned by physicians can collect patient fees for the provision of medical services. In California, corporate practice of medicine is not allowed. Only doctors can own and operate a doctor's office, corporation, or business.

The physician must be the practice owner or be an employee of the medical corporation or company (which is also owned by licensed physicians). It's not possible for a California medical spa to “rent a license” (hiring a doctor, be it a doctor, an osteopathic doctor, or a naturopathic doctor) or otherwise violate the provisions of corporate practice of medicine. Not only can physicians serve as medical directors of Med Spa, but they must operate the Med Spa under their medical practice and license. And non-doctors, like nurses, cannot have any stake in the ownership of a medical business.

Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs open medspas that violate the doctrine of corporate practice of medicine. Whether they don't know the rules or aren't willing to follow them, it's important to understand that in California, only doctors can own and operate a doctor's office, corporation, or business.

Janis Veino
Janis Veino

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