Board of Massage Meeting Notes January 15, 2016

Washington State Department of Health

There was an excellent presentation by Workforce Training about all the program requirements for non-degree training. They provide services such as, maintaining a fund for recovering tuition if a school goes bankrupt, there is a student complaint process. Each school needs to be licensed by the state. They will make a visit to the school at inception of license and then every couple years after that. Or if there is a complaint. They review class catalog, contracts, student records, business plans, etc. 

Essentially, they provide extensive investigation of schools that the Board then does not have to provide. This significantly reduces the Board’s costs, which leads to lower fees for massage therapists. (yay!)

Further discussion on how many times to allow students to fail MBLEx and still be able to obtain a license. This is to avoid fraud and stealing test questions. 3 fails will require repeating some coursework. After 3 further failures, the Board will have to approve further attempts after student has demonstrated additional training. This reporter is more than a bit jealous about all the screen time MBLEx is getting compared to breast massage. One would think breasts improved meeting attendance? That’s what Hollywood seems to think…

Gail McCafik, through Melanie Stewart and Associates, is spearheading recent lobbying efforts sponsored by several massage schools and individual therapists. WA-AMTA has not been able to afford consistent lobbying efforts, so certain leaders in the field took matters into their own hands. (Thank you Bellevue School of Massage!) 

Senate Bill 6399 / House Bill 2781 - This legislation that she is getting to the floor would allow the Board much greater discretion in creating rules regarding therapists transferring from other states.  Then we wouldn’t be subject to the on-again, off-again status of allowing therapists to transfer their licenses to Washington State without having to repeat their ENTIRE massage training at a Board-approved massage school. Amen and hallelujah!

Senate Bill 6181 / House Bill 2425 has been proposed to change LMP to LMT. Another small step toward the goal of standardizing massage nationally.

STILL no changes to the Breast Massage section of the rules This is four meetings running with no changes to the poorly worded breast massage section of the WAC. Wackety wack  >:-||

During Public Comment, a representative for the Structural Integration schools discussed that they would like separate exemption from needing a massage license, instead requiring a distinct certification. It was politely explained that that was unlikely to happen.

Barbara Helynn Heard and your insistent (and frustrated) reporter made comment (yet again) about the futility of requiring prescriptions for certain breast massage, yet not requiring advanced training.

The originator of the Massage Bar, Cary Cruea, discussed the need for amending the currently proposed rules to include a reduced record keeping requirement for chair massage and other event massage.

More potential massage therapists came to complain about the current and ridiculous transfer rule in Washington State.

Krystl Murphy (Assistant Attorney General) explained about RCW 4230, which is the open public meetings act. This was in response to a question from Brian Utting about hosting a public event on an evening when more massage therapists might be able to attend. Basically, these public meeting are regulated and need to happen in a certain fashion. So the answer is no.

There was a vote for a new Vice Chair - Anthony Sharpe, the public member, was chosen.

Joanne Miller gave the credentialing report: 594 licenses issued since last report. The majority of these happened in less than 14 days of receiving completed paperwork. Hats off to Joanne and her team!

Budget report - apparently investigating complaints against therapists practicing without a license, as well as inappropriate touch by therapists, are the costliest portion of budget, causing a deficit. Blake Maresh (Executive Director) will likely need to propose a licensing fee increase through the Legislature. This will not take effect until Jan 2018, if it is approved by legislature.

There is a question in this reporter’s mind as to why prosecuting complaints against NON-therapists are charged to the massage therapists’ budget? Isn’t that a matter that should be handled by the police??

FSMTB report from Kris Waidley (Program Manager): FSMTB does not propose a lifetime limit for people retaking MBLEx. They will increase the time between exams to 45 days. Testees can only change testing venues twice. English proficiency requirements will probably be added to the examination, so everyone will have to take basic proficiency as part of the test. They are also proposing a model massage application, so all states ask for similar information. Transcripts from massage therapy schools are completely inconsistent (which is part of the problem with transferring licenses from state-to-state), so they are sending a proposal as to what model to use for transcripts across the country. National rate of passing MBLEx is 68%. There was discussion about what school requirements could be put in place to improve this pass rate. 

Anthony Guajardo, LMP (Board President) asked if an update from the Human Trafficking Task Force could be included in future meetings.

That’s the report from January 2016 meeting. Stay tuned for more updates by signing up for the Massage Your Practice newsletter. Do you appreciate these updates? If so, please Like NSOBA on Facebook.