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Court Backs Board Of Medicine In Electrolysis Dispute

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
A doctor uses the latest technology in laser hair removal.

A state appeals court Thursday upheld a stance taken by the Florida Board of Medicine in a legal dispute about certification of electrologists.

A trade association, the Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal, in 2014 asked the Board of Medicine for what is known as a "declaratory statement" about certification requirements for electrologists who use laser and light-based devices, according to Thursday's ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

The issue focused on whether electrologists need only an initial certification or whether they need to be re-certified every five years. The Board of Medicine later voted to issue a statement indicating that one-time certification was needed.

Also, the board decided to go through a rule-making process to clarify the position, according to Thursday's decision. That led to a legal challenge by the trade association, which offers a certification program for electrologists in Florida.

Thursday's decision by a three-judge panel of the appeals court said the trade association challenged whether the Board of Medicine should have issued the declaratory statement and the conclusions reached in the statement. The court said the Board of Medicine's legal analysis in the statement is "not clearly erroneous" and alluded to the trade association disagreeing with the board's certification position.

"(We) are not unsympathetic to the policy arguments advanced by SCMHR (Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal) in support of a requirement that electrologists using laser and light-based devices maintain a current CME (Certified Medical Electrologist) certification,'' said the 15-page decision, written by appeals-court Judge T. Kent Wetherell and joined by judges Stephanie Ray and Susan Kelsey.

"Indeed, there appear to be valid policy arguments for and against such a requirement. However, these policy arguments are more appropriately directed to the board in the rulemaking process because this court does not have the authority to make policy or to second-guess the wisdom of the policy embodied in the board's rules."