New Bill Seeks to Regulate Laser Hair Removal in New York

Posted By Mike Meyer, Thursday, March 11, 2021

laser hair removal

By Patrick O'Brien, JD, Legal Coordinator, American Med Spa Association

A new bill introduced in the New York State Assembly provides for the regulation and licensure of laser hair removal (LHR). The bill, Assembly Bill 6156 (AB 6156) was filed by member Amy Paulin and has been initially referred to the Committee on Economic Development for further discussion; you can review the text of AB 6156 in full here. Presently, LHR is unregulated in New York, and anyone may perform LHR without any training or education.

Efforts to regulate LHR in New York have been a long and complicated story. AmSpa representatives were asked about some of the pertinent issues in a recent Bloomberg article and we've covered the state's tricky relationship with this treatment before on AmSpa Now.

Assemblyperson Paulin has recently been at the forefront of these efforts—she was a co-sponsor of 2019's AB 821, a similar bill that passed the Assembly but ultimately did not pass the Senate.

AB 6156 would create licenses for "laser hair removal technicians" and "LHR facilities" under the Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee, the same body that covers cosmetologists, nail specialists, aestheticians and similar practices. Under AB 6156, LHR could only be performed by:

  • A licensed physician;
  • A nurse or physician assistant under the direction and supervision of a physician; or
  • A licensed LHR technician under the direction and supervision of a physician.

While the physician would need to provide continuous direction and supervision, they would not necessarily be required to be physically present for the LHR treatment. As noted above in the Bloomberg article, it is unclear what the supervision and oversight duties would be for the physician. When supervising a delegated medical procedure performed by a nurse, the physician would need to physically examine the patient and order the treatment, whereas physician assistants are specifically licensed to provide medical assessments and order and prescribe treatments under supervision.

AB 6156 would require the adoption of rules and standards for the licensure and practice of LHR technicians and for the LHR facilities where they practice. These rules must, at a minimum, contain:

  • A registration fee;
  • A minimum age requirement;
  • A minimum number of hours of training;
  • A minimum number of supervised procedures to be performed on volunteers; and
  • Requirements for ongoing certification by a nationally accredited organization.

LHR facilities would need to maintain a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance in addition to the other adopted rules and standards.

Importantly, AB 6156 gives the department the option to waive training and education requirements for current aestheticians who are already performing LHR. These current LHR practicing aestheticians would still need to pass an approved competency exam to gain the new LHR technician license. This would obviously substantially reduce the costs for aestheticians to continue their services and comply with the new regulations.

Most other states treat LHR, along with other laser and light-based procedures, as medical procedures that need to be performed under a physician's delegation and supervision. In recent years, a few states have begun to treat LHR as a separate professional license. In that sense, AB 6156 would take New York from being a regulatory outlier to leading a trend in a single step.

We will be monitoring AB 6156 as it works its way through New York's legislative process this year.

AmSpa Plus Members receive an update like this one for almost every bill related to medical aesthetics in every state shortly after they are introduced. Click here to learn how to become a Plus Member today!

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