As a the owner of a plastic surgery practice, which is highly dependent on disposable income, I am more than well aware of how bad the economy is. Every week we worry about making payroll and paying our bills – no, doctors aren’t rich, despite what the government and the media would have you believe.
But when I saw this article about free Botox for the unemployed in Arlington I have to ask myself to what lengths will businesses go to attract customers. I mean aren’t there any standards out there? Why would anyone try to attract patients that clearly don’t have any disposable income to buy products that require disposable income? Well maybe on the flip side it’s that youthful look that will get you a job! No, I can’t go that far. That would be like giving up all of my ethics. But spas are businesses that look at the bottom line first and patient care later on.
Since the deregulation of medicine in 1979, non-plastic surgeons have been climbing on the cosmetic band wagon in droves. For the most part it’s a ‘cash up front’ business, which is highly appealing for anyone who has to deal with the injustice of the insurance industries. But this has brought about the philosophy that anyone who has an MD or DO after their name and spends a weekend at a seminar is a legitimate provider of prescribed cosmetic products and procedures. AND, that they are even more qualified to allow non-physicians to inject these products without direct supervision.
In Virginia it is required that any non-physician who injects products such as Botox or dermal fillers must be directly supervised by a qualified physician. This means that the physician must be, at least, in the office at the time of injection. Anyone who has any ethics understand this to mean that the physician should evaluate the patient, determine the correct procedure and, in my opinion, physically observe the procedure being performed. This is why I do all injections personally. But somehow I don’t think that’s what’s being done in these Med Spas.
So as our economy deteriorates and businesses begin to scrape the bottom of the barrel for money to make payroll etc. (trust me I know!), are we really going to throw out our ethics all together and pray on the most unfortunate in our society? Sure you’re unemployed but you look great! Oh, by the way that Botox isn’t permanent so come back in a few months for another treatment from our “staff.” Instead let’s use our resources to the best of our abilities to help find jobs for these people.