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Unsupervised Non-Physician Practice Of Medicine Position Of The American Society For Dermatologic Surgery


10/19/2005 5:10:38 PM

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) launched a campaign in 2001 warning consumers that cosmetic treatments, such as those using lasers, high-tech light devices, chemical peels, soft tissue fillers, botulinum toxin and microdermabrasion techniques, are medical/surgical procedures that should be performed by a fully qualified physician or under the direct supervision of a physician. Recent events surrounding the death of a New York City woman allegedly in the hands of a sham doctor performing a cosmetic procedure further underscore the need for significant tightening of the regulations regarding the non-physician practice of medicine.

The ASDS urges consumers to check not only a provider's qualifications but also the person's credentials to help avoid complications due to substandard treatment.

"As leaders in cosmetic and medically necessary skin surgery, we encourage patients to be selective about their choice of physician," says dermasurgeon Ronald L. Moy, M.D., president of the ASDS. "Nowadays, it's not enough to rely on word-of-mouth. Consumers need to do their homework regarding licensing and board certification of whoever is providing treatment. For more information and physician referrals, patients can go to the ASDS web site at http://www.aboutskinsurgery.org/ ."

To help patients avoid serious adverse effects and problems such as infections, scarring and pigmentation disorders, the ASDS offers the following tips:

-- Make Sure A Doctor Is On-Site: If a procedure is not being performed by a dermasurgeon, make sure that the supervising physician is physically present on-site, immediately available, and able to respond promptly to any questions or problems that may occur while the procedure is being performed. Make sure that the physician is the one performing the consultation and discussing the procedure with the patient -- how it is performed, what are the risks and alternatives, how many treatments will be required and what will be the expected final result. The doctor should be the one prescribing every treatment, even though it may be administered by a nurse. The doctor should explain why he/she is using a particular procedure over another option. In the case of a laser or light source, the physician should determine the parameters or settings that are used and why he/she is using a particular laser or procedure over another option. -- Check Credentials: Is the doctor overseeing the procedure board certified in dermatology? Check with your state Medical Board to see if any complaints have been filed against this person. Also, is the physician a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery? (to verify ASDS membership status, visit http://www.aboutskinsurgery.org/ .) -- Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask any questions, no matter how minor they might seem. For example, are there any side effects and, if so, what might they be? What things should you look for? When should you be concerned? -- Is this treatment right for you? Is this laser, device or technique appropriate for your skin type? Has the physician performed this procedure before on the part of the body on which you are having it done? -- Has your medical history been taken? -- Have you had an initial evaluation by a physician with special expertise in the skin? -- Discuss pain management options to avoid the risks associated with general anesthesia.

A position statement on the practice of medicine and the use of non- physician office personnel was also adopted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery in 2001 and is provided below as reference.

ASDS Position Statement on the Practice of Medicine and Use of Non-Physician

Office Personnel

The guiding principle for all dermasurgeons is to practice ethical medicine with the highest possible standards. Physicians should be properly trained in all procedures performed to ensure the highest level of patient care and safety. A physician should be fully qualified by residency training and preceptorship or appropriate course work. Training should include an extensive understanding of cutaneous medicine and surgery, the indications for each procedure, and the pre- and post-operative care involved in treatment. It is the position of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) that only active and properly licensed doctors of medicine and osteopathy shall engage in the practice of medicine.

Under the appropriate circumstances, a physician may delegate certain procedures to certified or licensed non-physician office personnel (e.g. RN, CMA, LPN, PA, NP, CORT). Specifically, the physician must directly supervise the non-physician office personnel to protect the best interests and welfare of each patient. The supervising physician shall be physically present on- site, immediately available, and able to respond promptly to any question or problem that may occur while the procedure is being performed. It is the physician's obligation to ensure that, with respect to each procedure performed, the non-physician office personnel possess the proper training in cutaneous medicine, the indications for the procedure, and the pre- and post- operative care involved.

With nearly 4,000 members, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, founded in 1970, is the largest specialty organization in the world exclusively representing dermasurgeons, board-certified physicians who are specifically trained to treat the health, function and appearance of the skin and soft tissue, with both medically necessary and cosmetic procedures, using both surgical and non-surgical methods. For more information on cosmetic skin procedures and referrals to board-certified dermasurgeons, please contact the ASDS Consumer Hotline, 1-800-441-ASDS (2737), during weekday business hours or log on at http://www.aboutskinsurgery.org/ .

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

CONTACT: Laura G. Davis of American Society for Dermatologic Surgery,+1-847-956-0900, ldavis@asds.net


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