Weight Loss Clinics
How to Start a Weight Loss Clinic in Texas
A medical weight loss clinic is a healthcare entity that specializes in providing personalized weight-loss and lifestyle management services to its clients. Recently, new prescription weight-loss drugs, like Wegovy® and Ozempic®, have inspired renewed interest in offering weight loss services as a stand-alone clinic or as part of an already thriving practice.
Contact Hendershot Cowart P.C. today to get experienced legal guidance and assistance in setting up a weight loss clinic in Texas.
On This Page
- Before Opening or Investing, Get Experienced Legal Guidance
- Who Can Own or Operate a Weight Loss Clinic in Texas?
- What Is the Best Entity & Structure for a Weight Loss Clinic?
- Do You Need a Special License to Provide Weight Loss Management Services?
- Is Weight Loss Management Considered the Practice of Medicine?
- Who Can Administer Prescription Weight-Loss Treatments?
- Can Wegovy® Be Prescribed via Telemedicine?
- How Our Weight Loss Clinic Attorneys Can Help
As with any new healthcare practice, weight loss clinics or weight loss services must be structured carefully to maintain compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations. Texas’ Corporate Practice of Medicine doctrine, HIPAA, licensing issues, limits on prescribing and dispensing drugs, and the Anti-Kickback Statute must all be considered when setting up a compliant healthcare practice.
From licensing requirements to limits on prescribing and dispensing prescription drugs, the Hendershot Cowart P.C. legal team is here to help.
Similar to an IV hydration therapy clinic, med spa, or ketamine clinic, any healthcare entity that provides medical treatment in Texas must be owned by a licensed physician. The strict limitations placed on who can own a medical weight loss clinic (and other types of clinics) are laid out by Texas’ Corporate Practice of Medicine prohibition and enforced by the Texas Medical Board and the civil courts.
Texas’s prohibition against the Corporate Practice of Medicine is designed to protect the doctor-patient relationship by ensuring that their physician’s advice is not influenced or controlled by non-physicians.
That said, nurses, physician assistants, and non-medical investors may still participate in the day-to-day operation of a weight-loss clinic; however, the organization must be carefully structured to comply with both state and federal regulations. Non-physicians may form a separate entity known as a management services organization (MSO), which then contracts with the physician’s practice to provide marketing, operations, and other management services to the medical practice.
Physician-owned clinics are often set up as Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs). Non-physicians interested in investing in weight-loss treatment services may do so through the formation of a management services organization (MSO), which is often set up as an LLC.
These two entities are then affiliated through a management services agreement that delineates the roles and responsibilities of each and ensures that compensation is consistent with both state and federal laws.
The healthcare attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. are well versed in healthcare law and business formations, including the set-up of MSOs and management services agreements. Our team routinely works with physicians and non-physicians alike to confidently set up compliant healthcare enterprises.
Only physicians licensed by the Texas Medical Board may practice medicine in Texas, and many weight-loss treatments fall under Texas’ definition of the practice of medicine.
Under Texas law, “practicing medicine” means “the diagnosis, treatment, or offer to treat a mental or physical disease or disorder or a physical deformity or injury by any system or method, or the attempt to effect cures of those conditions, by a person who: (a) publicly professes to be a physician or surgeon, or (b) directly or indirectly charges money or other compensation for those services.”
It depends on the treatment. Surgical weight loss treatments, such as liposuction, are, of course, considered the practice of medicine.
The prescribing of drugs for the treatment of obesity, overweight, and weight-related ailments also involve the practice of medicine. Only a licensed physician, or a physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse acting under a physician’s supervision, may prescribe drugs for weight management.
Patients who seek out weight loss treatment may also seek out non-surgical elective “body shaping” procedures, such as body contouring or CoolSculpting. These procedures fall under Texas’ definition of a nonsurgical medical cosmetic procedure and are therefore considered the practice of medicine as well.
Only a licensed physician may prescribe prescription weight-management drugs, such as Wegovy® and Ozempic®. Similarly, weight-loss treatments administered through a prescription medical device must be supervised by a licensed physician.
However, a licensed physician may not distribute or dispense drugs out of their medical practice. With only a few narrow exceptions to meet a patient’s “immediate needs” and to serve rural areas, prescription medicines must be dispensed by a licensed pharmacy in Texas.
Though a prescription drug, Wegovy® is not a controlled substance and, therefore, can be prescribed via telehealth. In Texas, telehealth prescribers must abide by the same standards and requirements applicable to in-person settings.
Learn more about prescribing and telemedicine laws in Texas.
If you are considering opening or investing in a medical weight loss clinic in Texas, speak with an experienced healthcare attorney as your first step.
The attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. have considerable experience working with healthcare providers and entrepreneurs on medical practice set-ups. We can help you decipher state and federal regulations and licensing requirements so you can start and manage your clinic with confidence. From regulatory compliance to structuring partnerships and drafting employment agreements, our Texas health law firm is your one-stop shop for help structuring a compliant, thriving weight loss clinic.
We Shoulder the Legal Burden.™And let you get back to business.
We Want to Be Your Law Firm for Life.We take a vested interest in our clients' success – from start to finish.
We Believe in Prompt, Personal Attention.As a boutique law firm, we unite real experience with personal attention.
We Serve Clients Throughout Texas and the Nation.We handle matters from the Red River to the Rio Grande and beyond.
In Business Since 1987.Let us put the full force of our 100+ years of combined experience to work for you.
“I cannot say enough good things about my Lawyer, Mr. David Augustus. His calm, laser-like knowledge of business law allowed me to prevail and teach a few others during the short negotiations. Having the full backing of his law firm also helped greatly.” - L.A.
“Excellent experience working with Ray to settle our partnership disillusion. He was consistently available and steadfast in his guidance. Highly recommend this firm.” - S.H.
“I retained Hendershot Cowart last year. Though an obvious small case for the firm, it was traumatic and very personal for me. Ashley Arnett guided me through the process, never once making me feel that my case wasn’t any less important as any other.” - S.L.