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Q&A with Scott Carson, President, The Aesthetic and Cosmetic Business Association

by Glenn J. Kalinoski, Editorial Director | April 04, 2016
Scott Carson
From the April 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The Aesthetic and Cosmetic Business Association (ACBA) is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to serving the business interests of owners of cosmetic dermatology equipment. The ACBA focuses on advocating policies and advancing initiatives that encourage business growth and enterprise value for its members. Scott Patrick Carson is managing partner of Healthcare Investment Advisors. HIA buys, invests in and develops growth businesses, partnering with world-class management teams to build value for its investors through operational improvements, growth initiatives and strategic acquisitions. Carson has more than 30 years of marketing, business development, sales and management experience, primarily in health care transactional platforms. HealthCare Business News interviewed Carson, the ACBA president, regarding the organization’s goals and priorities.

HCB News: Who are the members of the organization?
Members of the ACBA include: medical spa owners and managers, dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other physicians’ offices, service technicians and parts suppliers, parts dealers, brokers and resellers of new and used aesthetic equipment, and original equipment manufacturers of aesthetic equipment.

HCB News: Why was the ACBA formed?
The ACBA was formed to represent the business interests of our members as they relate to the procurement, use and sale of cosmetic dermatology equipment. The buying, selling, repair and usage of cosmetic dermatology equipment (both new and used) can be a daunting marketplace for medical practices. Information is hard to find and expectations from salespeople are often unrealistic. This very inefficient marketplace makes it difficult for medical practices to easily buy, sell or repair new and used equipment.

The aim of the ACBA is to provide more transparency for this marketplace, making it more efficient and much easier to buy, sell or repair your cosmetic dermatology equipment. In addition, the ACBA will offer group purchasing discounts and other savings to providers.

HCB News: What are the primary benefits for your members?
The ACBA board is reviewing a number of industry policies that seem counterintuitive in today’s world. Policies that drive pricing up, or that may be unfair, will be challenged. Examples of questionable practices include:

One of the impediments to a smooth and efficient equipment marketplace is the “recertification” fee charged by original equipment manufacturers when equipment changes hands. A recertification fee is imposed on the buyer of laser (and other) equipment when that equipment is purchased in the aftermarket. The fee is charged at the time the new owner makes the first service call to the original equipment manufacturer. The fee makes it difficult for the original owner of the device to sell the asset in the open market and use the funds to purchase new gear. Also, it drives the value of equipment down as well, because buyers are wary of the fee.

Inconsistent parts pricing
Another issue that will be investigated by the board is the alleged policy of charging different prices for parts. Some operators claim that when they purchase a system in the open market and when a part on that system fails, that the cost for the part is higher than the same part would be if it were for a system sold by the OEM.

Brand control
Two equipment manufacturers have recently issued cease and desist letters threatening legal action against any practice that uses the manufacturer brand or equipment name when marketing cosmetic dermatology services. The manufacturer’s position is that since the aftermarket buyer is not the registered owner of the equipment, they have no right to use the name to solicit consumers for services. This seems unprecedented and the board will investigate this policy.

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