Massachusetts Legislature Holds Hearing on Bill Defining “Surgery”

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

On November 19, 2019, the Massachusetts House and Senate conducted a hearing on House Bill 1964 (HB 1964). If passed, HB 1964 would create a more expansive and detailed definition of “surgery” that could have an effect on procedures commonly found in medical spas. The text of the bill is available in full here. The Senate and House have not yet voted on this bill and are awaiting the outcome of the hearing.
HB 1964 seeks to add a new section to Chapter 112 of the General Laws of Massachusetts. This section would give the Board of Registration in Medicine the authority to define the practice of surgery, and would make clear that the practice of surgery is limited to licensed physicians. HB 1964 goes on to provide some specific terms related to what is considered surgery. This definition includes commonly used terms such as “incision,” “destruction” and “cutting of tissues.” But what is particularly notable for medical spas is that the definition would also include the “alteration of tissues using lasers, ultrasound … and needles.” It goes on to explain that the tissue can be altered by means of freezing, and light or thermal energies. Read broadly, this would include nearly all light and energy-based medical spa treatments, as well as microneedling and cryolyposis. This could substantially restrict which professional licensees to whom a physician may delegate common medical spa procedures. Currently, the delegated licensed professional must work within their scope of practice, and few have surgery within that scope.
If you have questions or concerns about HB 1964, you can reach out to your legislators or the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ronald Mariano. AmSpa will be monitoring this bill as it moves through the legislative process.