Public hearing on proposed amendments
The public hearing held by the State Board on the regulations governing the practice of massage therapy (269 CMR 1.00-7.00) went quite well. It was an informational meeting only wherein members of the public were invited to share feedback on the proposed changes to the regulations, which means that the Board listened and took notes. The Board was not able to respond to, or comment on any suggestions or questions that were presented to them.
There were a dozen people (all MTs I believe) who were at the meeting. 7 people spoke up at the meeting, including our lobbyist, Mark Molloy and the Chapter president, Greg Hurd.
The primary concerns voiced in the meeting about the proposed changes to the regulations were:
1. Seeking clarity that outcall/out-of-office massage would still be allowed.
2. Seeking clarity as to why there would be an establishment license for a business that does outcall/out-of-office massages.
3. If the establishment license for these businesses does go through, would there be a simpler form since the current establishment license application does not fit outcall/out-of-office massages.
a. The AMTA-MA further stated that such a license application should work with businesses that have other integrative health therapists (other than MTs). How would such a business get an establishment license?
4. The AMTA-MA also stressed the importance of the Board recognizing digital record keeping. Although digital record keeping is currently approved by the Board, the AMTA-MA questioned whether it would be logical for an inspector to visit a business that does outcall/out-of-office massages and keeps digital records. We feel that another way of following through with inspections would be more appropriate.
a. We also want to make sure that an outcall/out-of-office only business would not be considered by a town/city as a business location that would need to be zoned for business.
5. Some pointed out that it would be an additional financial burden to obtain an establishment license for outcall to some MTs in the state.
6. The AMTA-MA sought clarity on the amendment that crossed out “patient” and replaced it with “client”. The AMTA-MA pointed out that this should have been done simply to be consistent with all the other terminology in the regulations and that this change has no impact on a MT’s ability to refer to her/his customers as clients or patients.
7. The AMTA-MA reiterated that having Continuing Education requirements is shown to be more effective in keeping out the illegitimate therapist, and could possibly be more effective than an establishment license for outcall models.
8. Others spoke of how difficult it is for some qualified MTs to get licensed in MA - especially for MTs from another state or those in MA who missed the grandfathering option. Note: the AMTA-MA did state that in the proposed amendments, the Board suggests eliminating the strict curriculum requirements, which would open the possibilities for certain qualified MTs to get a license in MA.
The AMTA-MA is optimistic that the Board will work with these suggestions and comments. The deadline to send in comments to the Board is July 18. The Board will have a public meeting on Monday, August 8 and will look at and discuss all the suggestions and comments on that day. Please see http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/mt/ for a list of Board meetings and members of the Board.