Memphis spa owner fights laser treatment bill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis spa owner fights laser treatment bill

(WMC-TV) - A battle is brewing over laser cosmetic procedures at spas that some say should only be performed in a doctor's office.

The Tennessee Medical Association is pushing for a cosmetic procedures bill for regulations at spa and laser centers.  One spa owner said if it passes, she will be out of business.

"A 20-year-old business, goodbye Mona," said Mona Sappenfield, owner of Mona's Spa & Laser Center.

Sappenfield's spa provides services that include aesthetic procedures.  She is concerned that House Bill 2558, allowing only physicians to delegate or supervise laser treatments, could put her in the red.

"Physicians and the TMA, who have lobbied very hard, felt like they could be big brother in this," said Sappenfield.

Tennessee Medical Association trustee Dr. Keith Anderson said it is not about authority, but rather avoiding injury.

"Our focus is purely on patient safety," said Anderson.  "It places these procedures under medical supervision to increase patient safety and decrease injury."

Sappenfield said she has been in the spa and laser business for nearly 30 years.  Even before this legislation, she and her staff have voluntarily taken safety courses to comply with industry standards.

"We train, we re-train," said Sappenfield.  "We certify, we re-certify."

Just after returning from Nashville to speak to the Tennessee Legislature, Sappenfield said she agrees that safety regulations should be in place.

"It's quite heart-wrenching that someone turned on a laser and didn't know what they were doing," she said.

Standing for a coalition of laser businesses, Sappenfield said the wording of the current bill is detrimental.

"Small business, I would have been wiped out actually," she said.

"We're certainly not anti-small business, because more of the physicians in the area are small businessmen," said Anderson.

Sappenfield maintained that an amendment agreement between physicians and spa owners is the only solution.

"It will be a win-win for everyone," said Sappenfield.

If passed, the amendment to bill 2558 would go into effect in October.  The bill will go before the house again as early as next week and has been calendared to go to the senate for a vote soon after.

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