resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Are They Finally Fixing Medicare Reimbursement?
Even with federal sequestration cuts taking effect in March, including a 2 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement to health care providers, hope may be on the horizon in the form of a much-anticipated, perpetually suggested overhaul of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which serves as the basis for determining physician reimbursement.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Going Shoeless: The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running
With the subculture of barefoot runners and the products catering to them growing daily, just about every chiropractor has been asked at one point or another about their opinion regarding barefoot running.
SOAP Notes: It's Time for a Cleaning
I have been planning for some time to write an article about how traditional SOAP notes do not fit chiropractic practice, and the unfairness of holding DCs to a model clearly created for and primarily applicable to medical physicians.
Chiropractic: The Right Choice for Relieving LBP
"Low back pain (LBP) is a common threat to medicine and a reasonable threat to all national health care systems. ... Reducing ineffective treatments is necessary to decrease the LBP associated costs."
Some Thoughts on the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is an interesting and dynamic articulation that can cause a lot of problems.
What the Science Says About Magnesium Stearate
It's often been said that scientific studies can be used to support just about anything. But discoveries are never made one study at a time.
The Potter's Wheel: Reflections on Practicing in a Technology-Driven World
In my very early years of practice, an older patient named Cora would call me at home, usually late Sunday night after she had consumed an unknown quantity of beer.
Side Effects From Big Pharma: Wellbutrin – Dangerous for You and Your Baby
Are some of your pregnant patients taking Wellbutrin? If so, it could be a danger to them and their baby. This drug is extremely popular, but it has a serious history.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Patient Perception and the Farce of "Fast Relief"; A Fly in the Ointment; Persecuted for Choosing to Practice Chiropractic.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Medicine Presents: A Great Opportunity
The changing nature of health care presents both opportunities and challenges. While we tend to focus on our profession, we can sometimes forget the impact other health care professions can have on us.
News in Brief
Controversial Florida PIP Law Under Review; D'Youville Chiro. Students Learning Art of Co-Managing; And the Award Goes To...; F4CP Recognizes Major Contribution by ChiroTouch.
Have a Heart: Say No to Soda
It's not enough that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to cavities and weight gain, among other negative health consequences.
A Building Block of Healthy Aging
Coenzyme Q10 has gained enormous attention in recent years, and with good reason —it's the Energizer Bunny of the cellular world.
Helping Infertility Patients with the Spirit Essence
As many of you know, when it comes to treating infertility, we are dealing with a patient population that is, generally speaking, in emotional turmoil. These patients often experience fear, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, grief and anger.
Correcting Kid Logic in Health Care and Research Design
A recent broadcast on public radio described a fascinating phenomenon known as kid logic.
Remembering Joe Weider (1920-2013)
With the death of Joe Weider, the world's most famous body-building visionary, crusader, fitness magazine publisher and icon, on March 23, 2013, chiropractic has lost one of its greatest friends and supporters.
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
Why You Should Get to Know the National Vaccine Information Center
Barbara Loe Fisher has been a diligent advocate for providing parents with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the usage of vaccinations for their children.
Research Abstracts From the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics
Effect of Pain Relief on Lumbar Muscle Function and Activation; Effects of Thrust Amplitude and Duration of HVLA Spinal Manipulation; Immediate Effects of Upper Thoracic Manipulation on Cardiovascular Response.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
What They Don't Say Could Hurt You
I have written previously regarding the difficulties of drawing information from patients who are poor historians, forgetful or just plain uncooperative. The thought to revisit the topic occurred recently during preparation for an upcoming seminar.
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
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."
comments powered by Disqus