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ASPS Successful in Reducing Negative Effects in Oregon Esthetician Scope of Practice Bill

In what was an uphill battle against more than 14,000 estheticians in Oregon alone, ASPS managed to dilute a bill that originally sought to blow the doors wide open for estheticians seeking to perform laser procedures.

Thanks to a combined effort of state and national medical and specialty societies, and a coordinated grassroots push in the Oregon House, Senate and to the governor's office, the final language states that estheticians are not allowed to perform any laser procedure that results in the wounding of skin or underlying tissue, while ensuring that multiple licensed health care providers with the necessary training and education will be voting members of the laser esthetician certifying board established by the law.

One of the major concessions achieved by ASPS and other physician groups was a provision directing the board to adopt rules that require these estheticians to enter into an agreement with a licensed health care professional. Additionally, the ASPS-negotiated version ensures that estheticians will perform these procedures in a facility that complies with applicable health and safety laws established by the Oregon Health Authority, and it requires estheticians to disclose their professional liability insurance to consumers.

The bill, which was sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Val Hoyle was originally designed to allow estheticians to perform a wide-range of medical procedures using FDA regulated lasers without supervision. It would have also created a certifying board within the state, whose sole authority is to certify estheticians to use lasers, without any oversight from a licensed medical professional or the state's medical board.

With the House majority leader as the lead sponsor, it was clear early on in the legislative session that the bill would have significant backing in the Democratic controlled legislature and would most likely go through an abbreviated process, which held to be true near the end of session.

While the session was dwindling in the first week of July, the legislature suspended the rules to expedite the process, which allowed the bill to move through both chambers in just one week instead of the usual months-long process. The suspension of the rules allowed the bill to skip past multiple "readings" in both chambers, a common step in the legislative process designed to give legislators opportunity to fully consider the bill.

Additionally, the bill bypassed a hearing in an appropriate policy committee in the Senate and was instead referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which had already approved the bill while it was still in the House, further expediting the legislative process.

It is expected that legislation of this nature will be introduced in multiple states during next year's legislative session. Ensuring that surgery is performed by surgeons remains a policy priority and ASPS will advocate that a health care provider's scope of practice reflects their education and training.

ASPS will also continue to monitor this issue during the rule making process to ensure that plastic surgery's interests are heard and that patient safety is not further compromised.