State Legislation: CSPS scores a victory in state cosmetic tax battle

Krystal Rutherford
07/12/2012 at 10:00AM

California cosmetic tax legislation (A.B. 1963) that was favorably amended in April was passed May 31 by the Assembly and currently awaits committee assignment. Amendments to the bill removed provisions that would have extended the state sales-and-use tax to elective cosmetic medical services. The amended bill instead would require the Legislative Analyst's Office to assess those proposed changes and report its findings to the Legislature. ASPS and the Stop Medical Taxes Coalition actively supported the California Society of Plastic Surgeons' efforts to defeat the proposal.

South Carolina legislation (H.B. 3747) that would phase-in a sales tax exemption for injectable medications and injectable biologics administered by or under the supervision of a physician in his or her office was recently passed by both chambers of the Legislature and awaits Gov. Nikki Haley's signature.

Truth in advertising

Companion legislation (S.B. 7455) that would require physicians who use the term "board certified" to do so only after meeting very specific criteria was introduced in the New York Senate on May 21. The measure was passed by the Senate Higher Education Committee in early June, while the Assembly version (A.B. 8410), which was favorably amended in early May, remains under committee consideration. Similar proposals (H.B. 1622/S.B. 750) in Missouri, and a more general truth in advertising measure (H.B. 494) in Vermont, died when their respective legislative sessions adjourned in May. ASPS continues to work closely with key stakeholders to champion these efforts and to advocate for specific disclosures regarding medical specialty board certification.

Scope of practice: dentistry

The Georgia Board of Dentistry (GBD) recently proposed new rules - similar to those adopted by the New Jersey Board of Dentistry late last year - that would permit licensed dentists who satisfy certain education and training requirements to administer injectable pharmacologics for cosmetic purposes. ASPS opposes the unsupervised practice of medicine by non-physicians, and as such opposes the GBD rule.

Dental boards in Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon and Pennsylvania continue to consider whether certain minimally invasive procedures such as the administration of Botox® or dermal fillers are within the scope of the practice of dentistry. ASPS will continue to closely monitor these ongoing discussions and weigh-in when appropriate.

Breast reconstruction education

Alabama legislation (H.B. 769) that would have required any hospital that provides mastectomy surgery, lymph node dissection or a lumpectomy to provide breast cancer patients with information concerning their options in breast reconstruction, died when the Legislature adjourned in late May.

Insurance coverage

New York proposals (A.B. 7193/S.B. 3801) to strengthen existing mandates that require coverage for breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy were recently scaled back. The original proposals would have expanded such coverage to include reconstruction after a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy; however, recent amendments removed the requirement for coverage after lumpectomy. The Senate version was favorably reported out of the Insurance Committee on June 4 and awaits further consideration in the Senate. California legislation (S.B. 255) to clarify existing mandates for such coverage is scheduled to be considered by the Assembly Committee on Health on June 19. Legislation in Alabama (H.B. 768) to require all individual health-benefit plans to include coverage for breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy died when the Legislature adjourned.

Medical spas

California legislation (A.B. 1548) that would stiffen penalties for corporate-owned chain medical spa operators who unlawfully practice medicine without proper licensure or ownership structure was slated to be heard in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on June 11. ASPS submitted comments in support of this legislation, which would improve patient safety by making it tougher for corporate entities to practice medicine illegally in California.

Companion legislation in Minnesota (H.F. 3026/S.F. 2617) to regulate the use, delegation and supervision of laser treatments died without being acted upon when the legislative session adjourned May 10.