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Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
August, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 08
The Fight for California
By Ramon G. McLeod, Editor-in-Chief
It looked like a done deal. An anti-prostitution law was moving quickly in the California legislature that would have dramatically changed the rules for massage therapists. Assembly Bill 1822 was clearly an assault on the profession, yet very little attention was being paid to it, which is exactly what its proponents expected.
Back in April, passage seemed assured. Who was going to speak out against something targeting human trafficking and prostitution? It was a slam dunk. An easy win.
But those who wanted this bill, which would have required massage therapists to seek in-person police investigation for work permits, hadn't counted on the mild-mannered Ahmos Netanel, executive director of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), or Mike Schroeder, one-time chairman of the California Republican Party and owner of American Massage Council, an insurance business for massage therapists.
Nor did they count on a massive outpouring of opposition from an awakened community that turned what could have been a disaster for massage therapy into what appears to be a come-from-behind victory for practitioners in the nation's most populous state.
Just under a year ago, California therapists worked under a hodgepodge system that required therapists to be approved by local police departments before they were given a permit to work in a specific community. This meant that if they had clients in different jurisdictions, they had to obtain approvals from each locality individually.
After years of lobby by the community, and most particularly, the California Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, Senate Bill 731 was enacted to rationalize the system. A statewide certification board was created, the CAMTC, which was charged with the task of verifying criminal and educational backgrounds before a permit to work was issued. With this certificate, a therapist can legally work anywhere in the state. Local police approval was no longer necessary as all applicants were to be screened based on criminal records provided by the state Department of Justice.
Seemingly out of nowhere, in early 2010, the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), led by the group's president, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Mannheimer, began to forcefully lobby for massive "reform" to SB 731.
At the core of what would become AB 1822 was a return to local police vetting of applicants. The CAMTC would continue to exist, but it would essentially become a rubberstamp for the applications approved by local authorities. The real authority would be re-invested in local police departments. The chiefs association went to Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda) to get him to sponsor the bill. As part of their pitch to him, the chief's association argued that the CAMTC didn't have the resources to handle thousands of applicants for state certificates. Furthermore, the association cited a "random/regional sample" of CAMTC applicants in San Mateo city and regions around the city conducted by the chief's association had found that 89 percent of these applicants were prostitutes or had questionable backgrounds. The implication was clear: massive numbers of prostitutes were filing applications to the CAMTC, an organization incapable of handling the work.
In a letter to Swanson, Manheimer wrote: "The specter of the CAMTC, with their limited resources, successfully screening out illegal operators and Human Trafficking victims is completely unrealistic. Additionally, CAMTC is not suited or situated to investigate, deny, suspend, or revoke those who are operating outside the law."
That set off the firestorm.
The Flame Thrower
While Mike Schroeder has a long history in both state and national politics, including a well-earned reputation for feistiness, in recent years he's been very much under the radar as a political force in massage.
"Typically, I don't function on a political level as it relates to the practice of massage," he said. "My role has been to construct a low-cost malpractice insurance program for massage therapists nationally."
Chairman of the California Republican Party in the late 90s, and vice-chairman of the national party during that same period, Schroeder said he has a 24-year history with the profession and was enraged by both the content and the implications of AB 1822.
"When Swanson and the police chiefs suggested that 89 percent were prostitutes, well that was simply a blatant lie," he said.
He said, the police chiefs association, and in particular the group's president, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Mannheimer, were "hoping they'd get away with this ... with leaving the impression that most massage therapists are prostitutes.
"They didn't think they were going to get called on it," he said. "They (the police chiefs association) wanted their turf back, simple as that ... But they've had 50 years to cleanup human trafficking and haven't been able to do so.
"The (current) system now is far more effective in stopping actual prostitutes. They can't 'shop' for jurisdictions with lax permitting and claim to be certified," he said. "And it prevents legitimate massage therapists from being treated like prostitutes and going from city to city to prove that they aren't ... we weren't going to go back to that."
The Quiet One
Those who know Ahmos Netanel use words like "thorough", "gracious" and "professional", but rarely does one hear him called "bulldog".
But during the battle over AB 1822, Netanel came forward with devastating documentation and used careful lobbying to help turn the political tide against the proposed law.
Netanel and Schroeder both realized that the critical element that had conviced Swanson to bring out the bill was the strong support of the California Police Chiefs Association and that groups' survey claim that 89 percent of CAMTC applicants were prostitutes or of unknown backgrounds.
But no where did the police group offer up any evidence that CAMTC had allowed any criminals to actually get through their screening process, which after all, is what matters.
And that's what Netanel seized upon. And then he turned the tables on the CPCA. Netanel produced Council data showing that it was police departments allowing criminals to pass background checks, not the Council.
"The CAMTC has never approved anyone who was not already approved through the DOJ (Department of Justice)," said Netanel. Then he produced a devastating bit of evidence: "CAMTC has rejected 3,424 applicants, who had passed background checks by local law enforcement, but when checked through CAMTC's process did not pass muster. In fact, so far 346 of those already approved locally were found to have criminal backgrounds and denied the statewide certification."
In late April, as publicity over the proposed law began emerging, the scattered opposition to it began to coalesce. The American Massage Therapy Association, California Chapter, came out in formal opposition to the bill. The ACLU followed suit: "While we support effective efforts to curb human trafficking and child prostitution, we do not believe that requiring massage therapists to complete background checks by local law enforcement - rather than a statewide organization - will combat trafficking. Instead, bad actors seeking to avoid detection will operate further underground to avoid subjecting themselves or the girls and women they are trafficking to increased scrutiny by local law enforcement."
But the key to what would lead to a major gutting of the most onerous provisions of the bill was a massive letter writing campaign. Urged by Massage Today, the heart of the campaign was an email form addressed to all the members of a key committee about to hear the bill. Within 48 hours of the form's posting committee members received more than 2,000 emails in opposition to members of the key committee that was about to hear the bill.
Swanson backed off his support of the original language in the bill and by the time a vote was taken by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in late May, the bill had been massively amended. The bill's language regarding local certification of individual massage therapists was removed. It also calls for the addition of two law enforcement members to the CAMTC including a Police Chiefs Association position and a Sheriffs Association position, and includes an added section to strengthen enforcement against illegal operators of massage businesses.
The CAMTC is looking for additional improvements, but Netanel said, "we are pleased with the direction it has taken." Schroeder, reflecting back on the course the bill has taken said he "felt pretty strongly that the profession would rise up. I was convinced that the minute we spoke out it would react exactly as it did. "I hope now that there will be a little more reluctance to attack this profession," he said. "They thought we would be a total pushover and couldn't exercise any power ... they were wrong about that."
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