August 2018 President's Message

Published: August 28, 2018

There is so much to report! Where do I start?

Your Chapter Board and Committees have been very busy. We do our best to look out for you and help you, the member, as much as we can.

Here are a few things that we have been doing and/or researching for you.

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Law & Legislation

Senate Bill 2621 - An Act to regulate bodywork therapy

Click here to read the bill.

The house did not act on this Bill by the end of July so they will look at when they start up again.

My thoughts: It is clear that the MA legislators want bodywork regulated. The current lack of regulation is seen as a loophole for bodyworkers who may start a business that is a cover for human trafficking.

We are looking after massage therapists as best we can. There are concerns such as adding bodywork to the massage board. We need to understand the licensing issue and how that affects massage therapists who practice bodywork techniques. That are just a couple of the things we are looking at. We will keep you updated on this Bill through emails our website, www.massamta.org, and on Facebook and Twitter.

MA H 4742 - An act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addition

Click here to read the act in full.

My thoughts: Although it does not mention massage in particular it states: This act does include: pain management strategies, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and referrals for chronic pain.

There is another bill that may require Massage Therapists to display a poster re: human trafficking in their massage office. CT currently has this regulation. It is another bill that we are following.

Do you know about Engage? It is the AMTA’s legislative advocacy tool. AMTA uses Engage to send out action alerts, inform massage therapists about critical massage-related bills, and to put our members in contact with their legislators. Engage will give you the opportunity for your voice to be heard! Access this “Advocacy Action Center” by clicking here.

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Lobbyists

We have had a change with regards to our lobbyists. Our lobbyists work for Lynch Associates. They have been Mark Molloy and Kim Sullivan for some years. Many of you may have met Mark as he speaks at our Annual Meetings.

Mark is incredible and supports the MA Chapter is so many ways. In fact he and Kim helped us to be awarded with another LLEAD Grant in which National helps us to pay for our lobbyists.

Our news – Kim Sullivan has moved to California. She will be greatly missed as she has been an incredible advocate for us. We wish her the very best.

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National Convention

Here are a few highlights.

CVOP - Your Chapter was well represented at CVOP – the Chapter Volunteer Orientation Program. In those meetings, we learned even more ways to work with you, our members. We will have lots more for you on this in future emails!

Assembly of Delegates (AOD) – This is the first year for this Assembly. It is the progression from the House of Delegates. At the AOD, all the AMTA Chapters were able to be represented. Position Statements and questions were discussed.

The AOD voted on two Position Statements. When a Statement is approved by the AOD, it will go to National AMTA who will put together a workgroup who will polish up the statement and review all the research. When they are finished, the Statement will become a clear statement that the AMTA can stand behind. It will also be in a publishable format giving even more credence to the Statement.

The statement on pediatric massage was given priority: Proposed Position Statement It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy may be beneficial for pediatric populations within the hospital setting. We will be updated by the AMTA as to the progress of this Statement.

Life is Good – “Tell me something good” Bert Jacobs of https://www.lifeisgood.com/ was the opening keynote speaker. He brought optimism to all of us. He was inspiring. He said it all started at family dinner when his mother would always ask them to “tell me something good.” We will definitely be using that simple statement.

There’s almost too much good that went on to put into writing! There was great networking, classes, get togethers, and even a dinner dance.

Did you know you can have access to handouts that were used at AMTA National Conventions? Click here and you can see the 2018 handouts. You can also search for other years as well.

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Independent Contractor vs. Employee

There are a lot of questions as to whether you are classified correctly as an Independent Contractor of an Employee. This may be a surprise to you but did you know that if you are a massage therapist who has a business, you cannot hire another massage therapist as an independent contractor? That therapist has to either be an employee or a therapist who has their own business and will rent space from you.

MA provides a three-part test - try it out here.

An employer who wants to treat someone as an independent contractor rather than an employee has to show that the work:

- is done without the direction and control of the employer; and

- is performed outside the usual course of the employer's business; and

- is done by someone who has their own, independent business or trade doing that kind of work.

The Attorney General's Office has issued an advisory that explains the purposes of the law and how the Attorney General’s Office understands and enforces the law.

Additional Resources for The three-part test

Independent Contractor Law (M.G.L. c. 149, sec. 148B)

Attorney General's advisory on the Independent Contractor Law (PDF 42.88 KB)

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I’m going to finish with an update on the massage licensing process. There has been quite a bit of feedback on questions on the initial license and the establishment license. Our lobbyist Mark Molloy and I met with the DPL. Here is a summary of our discussion with them.

Update on the Massage Therapy Licensing Process

The AMTA-MA recently met with the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) to discuss issues related to the licensing of massage therapists and massage therapy establishments. As some members have commented, there has been circumstances where massage therapists have had to wait an extended period of time before receiving their individual or establishment licenses. Accordingly, the AMTA-MA met with DPL leadership to express our concern about these delays.

In an effort to improve the licensing process, the DPL informed the AMTA-MA of the following actions being undertaken by the agency:

Creating an additional unit within the agency to lighten the workload. The DPL works on a “shared service” model where certain employees are assigned to teams that do work for three or four boards of registration. The DPL has added an additional unit to relieve the burden on high application/inspection boards such as massage therapy. This will free up more time to address outstanding applications and inquiries.

Increasing the outreach of the DPL’s “e-licensing” team to reduce paperwork applications. As the DPL continues its shift to a paperless application process, it has continued to accept paper or hard copy applications. Paper or hard copy applications take longer to process. As such, the DPL is expanding its efforts to educate licensees about the electronic or “paperless” process. Expect to hear from the DPL’s e-licensing team at our next annual meeting.

Improved customer service training / reply times. The DPL is undertaking additional customer service training (CST) for employees who have regular public interface. A best management practice, additional CST should assist with ensuring that licensees get a timely response to their questions and applications. The DPL reiterated their commitment to reducing response times.

Reviewing the existing establishment process. One of the initiatives that the DPL has begun is a review of the existing establishment licensure process to determine whether there are areas for streamlining the process. Two of the areas being reviewed relate to the pre-inspection requirements and the CORI review process. By identifying areas of overlap or redundancy, there may be an ability to shorten the application process.

The AMTA-MA’s meeting with DPL leadership was productive. We greatly appreciate DPL’s continued commitment to not only listen to impacted parties, but their efforts to address the concerns raised by licensees. We will continue this dialogue with the DPL. As soon as we have more information about the above initiatives, we will share it with you. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please do not hesitate to let us know by going to our Contact Us page on our website.

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There you have it! This is my August President’s Message for you. The above is just some of what your Board and Committees are doing. As always feel free to email at greghurdlmt@gmail.com with any questions, concerns, and feedback.

Thank you so much for letting me a representative for you. I look forward to continuing as our Chapter President.

Greg Hurd, LMT, BCTMB