Nurse Faces Felongy Charges Over Botox Treatments At Spa

From the Ventura County Star, by Kim Lang Gregory (http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/03/camarillo-nurse-faces-felony-charges-over-botox/
 

A registered nurse is facing felony charges in connection with Botox injections she gave clients at a spa she co-owns in Camarillo, officials said.

Tamara Foley, 44, of Camarillo is charged with felony unlawful practice of medicine, authorities said. She was arrested May 9 at the Posh Hair & Skin Studio in Camarillo, which she co-owns with Ventura obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Terry Cole. Foley is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Ventura County Superior Court.

“She is a registered nurse and registered nurses are permitted to administer Botox, but there needs to be a physician consultation ahead of time, and that was lacking,” said Erin Meister, a Ventura County deputy district attorney.
 
Foley’s attorney, Richard Moss of Pasadena, said his client was acting in good faith.
 
“Dr. Cole is the majority owner” of the salon, Moss said. “It’s my understanding there were protocols or standing orders in place under which Dr. Cole authorized Tamara to conduct the assessments or the good faith examinations that preceded the administering of Botox.”

Cole’s office manager said the doctor declined to comment.

According to the district attorney’s office, the California State Medical Board has submitted a case against Cole for review, but no decision has been made and no charges have been filed against the doctor.
 

Moss said Posh Hair & Skin Studio, whose services include hairstyling, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials and Botox injections, is a professional medical corporation as defined by state law.

An increasing number of “medi-spas” are springing up across the nation under the supervision of physicians who may or may not be plastic surgeons or dermatologists, offering cosmetic procedures such as Botox, fillers and laser resurfacing. The physician performs or supervises the procedures or is on the premises.

“The medical board has taken the position that it (doctor supervision) is required, and we’re not convinced it is required and we are searching for an expert of our own to render a contrary opinion,” Moss said. “Were not talking about whether it’s authorized, but whether it constitutes an unlicensed practice of medicine if an RN is doing it under the direction of a medical doctor in good faith.”

Asked what constitutes “supervision from a physician,” state Department of Consumer Affairs spokesman Russ Heimerich said, “That’s the $21 million question.” The nursing and medical boards fall under the Department of Consumer Affairs umbrella.

“What it’s been taken to mean so far is that if a physician has standing orders or has confidence in the nurse and has done the medical exam to do the procedure, the physician doesn’t have to be present,” Heimerich said.

But the physician needs to have examined the patient first and prescribe the procedure, Heimerich said.

In April 2009, the medical board warned doctors it was illegal to become partners in a medi-spa unless the doctor took responsibility for patients. The board then hired five investigators whose duties included responding to complaints involving medical spas.

One such investigator went undercover at Posh following an anonymous complaint, authorities said. According to the district attorney’s office, Foley agreed to give Botox to the investigator without getting proper supervision and was arrested in the salon on May 9.

She is currently out on $10,000 bail, which she posted May 9.

If found guilty of practicing medicine without a license, she faces jail or prison time, although prosecutor Meister said she doubts it will come to that because Foley has no criminal record. If Foley is found guilty, Meister thinks she might just be asked to pay a fine and perform community service.
 
“The bigger concern would be putting nurses on notice that these rules need to be followed before administering Botox to the community,” Meister said.
 
At Concannon Plastic Surgery, all botox injections are performed by the physician. We urge you to be careful when seeking elective cosmetic and aesthetic treatments, we recommend to always utilize a physician who is BOARD CERTIFIED in that specialty (such as plastic surgery or dermatology) to provide your care.
 
Be cautious when treatment is given without the physician present. NEVER allow prescribed treatment to be given without first obtaining a face-to-face consultation with a physician– To provide prescribed care without ever seeing the physician is NOT SAFE to you, and is illegal! Just because a treatment is ‘common’ (such as botox injections, or fillers) doesn’t mean you should cheat yourself out of professional medical guidance and advice.
 
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