Physicians may be taking responsibilities from estheticians if a new bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives passes. Tennessee House Bill 2558 a change that could drastically change the role of estheticians and even be a job-killer in the esthetics and skin care industry. This bill greatly endangers estheticians' careers and businesses by bringing all near-medical procedures into doctors' offices (who arguably have better things to do), when estheticans are perfectly well-trained from their time in esthetics school to do these procedures without being babysat. In short, this bill needs to be stopped.

The Tennessee House Bill 2558 is a proposal that would require any near-medical cosmetic or esthetics procedures to be performed by a doctor or a person delegated by a doctor under his or her supervision. This ultimately means that the registered nurses and estheticians who are currently performing laser procedures would no longer be allowed to independently, unless under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. The bill goes as far as to require that the physician is present for the actual procedure or is the one who is performing it. The only tasks that an esthetician would be allowed to do would be facials and waxing. Treatments ranging from laser hair removal to chemical peels would all be given by physicians. This bill was originally brought to the attention of lawmakers earlier in 2012. This particular Republican legislature was shot down. However, this does not mean that the battle is over.

So what exactly does this mean for estheticians? Well, these individuals may be ousted from their long-standing positions at salons spas, since their services could not be performed any longer without having a physician at hand. This has dangerous financial ramifications not just for the licensed estheticians (who would effectively have wasted their time, money and training if this bill were to pass) but also for the salons and spas who count on esthetics and skin care services as a steady stream of revenue for their business. This bill is clearly a job-killer in more ways than one. For those who own spas, they would be required to hire at least one licensed physician to have on staff - which is expensive, impractical and unrealistic.

Mona Sappenfield, owner of Mona Spa and Laser Center in Memphis, TN, is one of these spa owners who declares that she will have to file bankruptcy if this law goes into effect. She further notes that she cannot afford to have physicians working for her and still be able to keep her doors open. She states that the 40 years she has been in the industry will suddenly mean nothing. Thankfully, the bill only passed through the Senate, and it was knocked down by the House. It barely was halted, since it only was declined because of a one-vote difference. How scary is that?

Submitted by Elizabeth on 07/23/2012 - 14:29

"While empathy was noted from a handful of estheticians, the apathy and lack of lobbying funds position all of us with profitable practices like low-hanging fruit for these doctors to move into the beauty business," Sappenfield said. "Despite its rejection, the Tennessee Medical Association is lobbying extremely hard for this bill to pass. To date, the Cosmetology Board has stated that they are not going to get involved. The International Aesthetic and Laser Association has hired Nathan Green to lobby for this regulation and while it may seem that they are on our side, the estheticians are not represented at all due to lack of lobby funds."

The reason for the proposed change is allegedly due to "public safety concerns," but it is not taking into consideration the extensive training that estheticians have undergone in order to work in this field. This particular case has incorporated the testimonies of two individuals who claimed to have botched aesthetic procedures done through a licensed esthetician. Lawmakers are proposing that by having doctors perform will make it safer. It should be noted that two is an extraordinarily small number out of all the esthetics services performed in Tennessee each year. It should also be said that physicians are humans too - equally capable of making mistakes as estheticians. They would undergo the same esthetics training that licensed estheticians, and are no less likely to have complications in services than anyone else.