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News & Press: WA Chapter Event News

The following is an update on issues of importance to LMTs

Monday, October 15, 2018  
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  1. Board of Massage (Board) rule-making. The Board continues its rule-making activities. AMTA-WA is front and center at each Board meeting, and in addition, provides written comments for the Board’s consideration. Here is a link to the current topics being considered by the Board . Comments on the most recent rule drafts may be submitted to the Board by Friday, November 2nd by e-mailing Megan Maxey at megan.maxey@doh.wa.gov. The next meeting on the Board will be held on November 9th in Tumwater.

  2. Board of Massage newsletter. Here’s a link to the Board’s September newsletter. Note that the Board writes: “The rules writing process is open to the public. The public is welcome to take part in helping us write rules. Rules workshops occur during open public board meetings.” In addition, the newsletter includes an overview of the disciplinary process, as well as important information on additional topics. I recommend you read it.

  3. Massage licensure fees. At this time in mid-October, we expect that licensure fees for LMTs will increase in 2019, but we don’t know by how much. Here’s what we do know:

    1. The massage program has been operating at a deficit level since 2013, and it is projected to get worse over time.

    2. The massage program has higher disciplinary costs than most other professions. Nearly 60% of the massage budget is spent on discipline compared to less than
      45% for other professions.

    3. A major driver of growth in disciplinary costs was an increase in the number of unlicensed practice complaints, which, in 2015, were two-thirds of complaints received. The proportion has declined since 2015, but has averaged 28%, much higher than other professions which averaged just 4% in 2018.

    4. From 2011 to 2018, the number of licensees has remained the same at almost 14,000. Unfortunately, the lack of growth in the number of licensees has left the massage program unable to grown revenue while spending has increased.

  4. More on massage fees. So, what does this mean? It means that in the short-term we can expect a fee increase to remove the deficit. While it’s important to remember that the massage program has been doing exactly what AMTA-WA has asked for over the years—actively investigating unlicensed practice complaints in order to stop unlicensed practice--we also know that the massage program is reviewing how it handles unlicensed practice complaints. In particular, the program is reviewing how it handles those complaints that are the result of illegal activities where the massage business is simply a front. To its credit, the massage program continues to develop strong relationships with law enforcement in various communities around the state. That is very helpful because these types of unlicensed practice complaints are more effectively dealt with by local law enforcement. Over time, we remain hopeful that massage fees will stabilize. Unfortunately, for now, we expect to be asked to pay off a “loan” that we didn’t know we had.

  5. Upcoming legislative issues. It’s not too soon to talk about the upcoming 2019 legislative session that begins on Monday, January 14. AMTA-WA is working together with other groups such as chiropractors, PTs, acupuncturists, etc., on legislation to regulate benefit managers, and to encourage the use of alternatives to opioids. Currently, barriers to alternatives include visit limits, high cost sharing, and network adequacy.

  6. November 6th is election day. Please remember to vote! While uncertain as to who said this first, the bottom line is that democracy is not a spectator sport. It takes all of us stepping up and doing our civic duty—and that means voting.

    AMTA-WA GR Update by Susan Sherman, LMT

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