The Medical Board of Australia has published a set of guidelines for registered medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures, which will take effect on the 1st of October 2016. These guidelines have been developed by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) under section 39 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).
Section 12 – Financial Arrangements
Section 12 of the new guidelines deal with financial arrangements made with a patient for cosmetic medical procedures. In summary:
- A patient must be provided with written information about the costs of the procedure, additional costs for follow-up care and possible costs for additional treatments that may arise during the procedure.
- A dermatologist should not provide or offer to provide financial inducements to agents for the recruitment of patients for cosmetic procedures. For example: commissions.
- A dermatologist should not offer patients additional product or service incentives for any cosmetic medical service. For example: free or discounted flights or accommodation, gift cards.
- A dermatologist should not, directly or indirectly, offer patients financing schemes other than credit card payment facilities. Loans or commercial payment plans should not be offered as part of any cosmetic medical service.
- A dermatologist should not have a financial conflict of interest that may influence the advice that they provide to a patient. This influence may arise from profit-margin bias or drug company incentives or commissions.
Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing these new guidelines and how each section will influence specific aspects of a dermatologist’s obligations to their patient.