Delegation of tasks to non-physician providers in plastic surgery practices and med spas

Many practices and med spas that offer a variety of cosmetic and aesthetic treatments have come under scrutiny for certain practices. Among these, is the delegation of patient care tasks to non-physician providers. Practice owners must carefully manage the medico-legal and ethical aspects of their practice by following clearly established guidelines. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have a joint guiding principles on the supervision of non-physician personnel in physician practices and medical spas.

The use of physican extenders is an excellent way to increase a physician's efficiency, though the delegation of tasks to these providers must not be divorced from carefully monitored, physician-directed care. The chain of accountability ultimately ends with the physicians themselves. The current economic climate is already challenging for many cosmetic practices who rely of discretionary consumer spending. Practices that attempt to cut corners by inappropriately delegating tasks to extenders to make up for leaner profit margins risk severe consequences.