California’s Cosmetic Surgery Centers Operate With Limited Oversight
A lack of state regulation has allowed many unlicensed and unaccredited cosmetic surgery centers in California to provide services to patients, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Lack of Licensing, Accreditation
In 2007, California stopped licensing cosmetic surgery centers that were at least partially owned by a licensed physician. The change came after a doctor successfully challenged the state's regulatory authority in court.
Currently, 45 surgical centers have state licenses, compared with 480 before the law changed, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Hundreds of additional centers operate as cash-only businesses that offer elective cosmetic procedures. Experts say many such centers lack accreditation from independent accrediting groups.
Ralph Montano, spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health, said his agency "does not have the authority to sanction a surgical center for being unaccredited when the facility is physician-owned."
The California Medical Board has the authority to issue fines of up to $1,000 per day against unaccredited surgery centers.
However, Michael McGuire -- chief of plastic surgery at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica -- said that rarely happens.
Independent accrediting groups are not required to disclose complaints against surgical centers. Therefore, centers that lose accreditation with oneÂ entity have the ability to immediately apply for accreditation with another group, according to some lawmakers.
This year, Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) introduced legislation (SB 1150) that would have required all physician-owned surgical centers to obtain state licenses. Although the bill passed the Senate, Assembly lawmakers blocked a vote on the measure.
Negrete McLeod says she plans to introduce similar legislation next year (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 11/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.