The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) has joined more than 15 regional and national medical societies in opposition of H.F. 1529, a bill that would allow laser, intense pulsed light (IPL) and radiofrequency (RF) procedures to be performed by electrologists and aestheticians without direct supervision from a licensed physician.

The bill addresses the practice of medicine in MN, defines the use of lasers, and addresses general restrictions regarding lasers, IPL, and RF. In addition, the bill addresses delegation of treatment, supervision of treatment, training requirements, quality assurance, and facility restrictions.

‘The proposed legislation would seriously weaken patient protections by reducing the degree of physician supervision required of laser operators,’ said George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, Public Policy Director for the ASLMS.

‘The great majority of lawsuits, 78% in 2011, for injury from lasers and intense pulsed light devices are brought against non-physician laser operators. Reducing supervision can be expected to lead to more injury to patients from inadequately trained and supervised laser operators.’

According to the ASLMS and other opposing medical groups, the use of medical laser is currently regulated by the State of Minnesota. Opposing associations jointly responded, ‘H.F. 1529 purports to be a patient safety measure. However, H.F. 1529 actually weakens existing law with regard to regulation of the use of lasers. Under Minnesota law, those authorised to use lasers would include medical doctors and osteopathic physicians, or those individuals to whom a procedure or service is delegated by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician.’

Under H.F. 1529, new categories of ‘care providers’ and of ‘health care practitioners’ are created. They are defined as follows: ‘Health practitioner’ means a licensed practical nurse, a licensed clinical esthetician, a board-certified electrologist by the American Electrology Association, or a certified laser technician with a national certification.

The ASLMS is comprised of a diverse membership body which includes a significant number of nurses and¬†other allied health professionals and is content with nurses being considered ‘care providers’ or ‘health care¬†practitioners’.

However, the ASLMS and other opposing organisations have agreed that nurses being lumped into a category that includes licensed clinical aestheticians, board-certified electrologists by the American Electrology Association, or certified laser technicians with a national certification, and exempts these individuals from 2013 Minnesota Statutes, is problematic.