resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.).
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.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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!
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.
May, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 05
CAMTC Sunset Hearings Reveal Concerns
Prostitution, human trafficking, law enforcement and operational questions come to light at legislative hearings.
By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor
In the midst of its Sunset Review process, the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) finds itself addressing concerns from law enforcement agencies, city and county leaders, as well as a former board member, all urging the California legislature to sunset - or put an end to - the CAMTC and put massage therapy regulation under the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
When the CAMTC was established in 2009, many saw this as an opportunity for the profession to show it could govern itself, harness the estimated millions in potentiall annual licensing fees and provide a model for other states to follow. However, as the sunset review process continues, this experiment could be coming to an end.
Senate Bill 731 (passed in September 2008) established a two-tier voluntary certification system that allowed a massage therapist to practice lawfully throughout the state without being subject to city or county ordinances. It also established the CAMTC, a private nonprofit organization acting as the regulator of massage therapy certification.
Prior to the passage of SB731, massage therapists in California were subjected to the ordinances enacted by individual cities and counties providing for the licensing and regulation of the business of massage. It was a patch work of various regulations many therapists were eager to see disappear as they were often paying multiple fees to practice in more than one city or county.
The sunset review process is a normal assessment of state regulatory programs, established to determine whether they should be continued by the legislature. The process for CAMTC began in 2013 when the group began drafting its sunset review report and continued on March 10, 2014 with a joint hearing before the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee and the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
Without legislative action, the CAMTC in its current form is set to sunset - or cease to exist - on December 31, 2014.
Law Enforcement Concerns
The CAMTC has had to garner support from law enforcement and city and county officials from its inception. CAMTC CEO Ahmos Netanel said the group has "a robust communication protocol with the majority of local jurisdictions. In December 2013, we reached out to more than 400 police chiefs and sheriffs and offered a no-cost training for their officers. So far, we have received more than 120 requests for our specialized training. In the past 90 days, we trained approximately 500 law enforcement officials, including police chiefs, sheriffs, FBI agents and district attorneys."
However, the League of California Cities was quick to trot out legislators, mayors, council members and law enforcement agencies to urge the legislature to sunset SB731 and the CAMTC, as they believe this process as it stands lends to the proliferation of illegitimate massage establishments, prostitution and human trafficking.
The League is seeking a restoration to local control over massage therapy businesses. The League's Legislative representative, Kirstin Kilpitcke, outlined several priorities in her testimony at the joint hearing, including having a state agency oversee certification and licensing of massage professionals rather than a nonprofit; requiring owners of massage establishments to be responsible for what occurs in their businesses; modifying the language that authorizes local governments to regulate massage businesses to the extent a jurisdiction "uniformly" regulates all other business professionals; and clarify the statue so that local governments can charge fees to recoup the costs of enforcing the statue.
These issues stem from the fact that under the current legislation, CAMTC is only responsible for certified employees and owners. If an owner of a massage business is not certified, CAMTC can take no action against that owner and local governments have, "their hands tied and cannot regulate these businesses," according to the League. The League also said that, "because cities and counties do not uniformly regulate business professionals, the existing law effectively prevents the regulation of the massage industry."
In her testimony, San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang expressed concerns with SB 731, saying certain provisions leave the city unable to regulate and manage massage establishments and that the city has lost significant oversight authority. Tang said many establishments closed by the city have since reopened under the CAMTC certification process.
Prior to the hearing, staff for the joint committee issued 19 recommendations related to CAMTC and its operational structure. CAMTC addressed much of these recommendations in its testimony before the committee.
In his testimony, CAMTC board member Michael Callagy, a former deputy police chief, said that, "CAMTC recommends that it be given the authority to implement a voluntary registration program for establishments. Establishments that are not registered with CAMTC would be subject to whatever regulation a local jurisdiction would see fit to impose, regardless of whether all massage providers are certified or not." Callagy said the funds for such a program would come from existing CAMTC financial resources.
Also in response to the issues presented regarding increased local control, Callagy testified that, "CAMTC agrees that legislation should be passed which strikes a better balance between the needs of massage professionals and local control. For this reason, it has proposed legislation in 2014 that will provide local government with the explicit authority to address establishments that use massage as a subterfuge for prostitution and supports CAMTC voluntary registration of massage establishments."
Netanel said he "found the issues the committee staff raised to be sensible and predictable" and that "CAMTC is in the process of formulating a response."
In his testimony, CAMTC former board member and ABMP Chairman Bob Benson acknowledged some successes from CAMTC but sided with the staff's recommendation that "a strong argument can be made for the continuation of some form of professional regulation: statewide regulation is more efficient, consistent and the norm across the majority of states."
Benson, who served as the initial Vice-Chair and participated in 51 of the 52 board meetings held during his 2009-2013 tenure, stated in his testimony that, "the model of voluntary certification by a nonprofit organization was a good one for a five-year transition from a confusing hodge-podge of local massage regulation, often administered by individuals with little understanding of the health benefits of massage therapy and limited capability to assess whether someone seeking to provide massage was in fact well prepared to do so."
But, Benson went on to state that, "unfortunately, CAMTC approaches to managing its affairs have not matured. With no state funds provided, CAMTC initially had to make several expedient choices about cobbling together resources. As financial stability was secured, though, senior management turned a deaf ear to suggestions for building a stronger, lasting management structure."
"Weaknesses in CAMTC's underpinnings keep emerging. The staff background report cites numerous areas of CAMTC administrative weakness:
Benson went on to state that, "despite CAMTC spending over $500,000 a year for outside lawyers, a continuing backlog of hundreds of applications still awaits CAMTC attorney action to issue proposed denial or revocation letters and final letters of determination."
"The organization lacks a seasoned Controller/COO. Information systems are inadequate for needed controls." To prove his point, Benson cited the original report submitted by CAMTC to the legislative committee. Benson said it was, "riddled with errors on matters as fundamental as the number of certified individuals by category and the status of those who had been referred to PSD ... and it took CAMTC staff five weeks to produce corrected data."
"That's a portrait of an organization lacking sufficient administrative control. And now, on top of these deficiencies, CAMTC is seeking to shoulder additional responsibility for approving massage establishments and inspecting massage schools. It's delusional," said Benson.
Benson instead urged the committee to:
"The state board model works well in scores of other states. It is time for that model in California," said Benson.
CAMTC is currently formulating its response to the staff recommendations and concerns cited by those providing testimony during the legislative hearings. According to Netanel, April 29th is the last date for the sunset bill to be out of the committee and CAMTC is waiting to receive the proposed bill language.
In the meantime, there are currently four bills before the state assembly that could potentially impact the massage therapy profession (AB 1904, AB 1147, AB 1747 and AB 2739).
The purpose of AB 1147 is to "enhance the competency requirements for persons seeking certification as a massage practitioner by requiring an applicant to take and pass a massage and bodywork competency examination in addition to the 250 hours of education currently required." Assembly Bill 2739 would extend the provisions of the existing law until January 1, 2019.
With passionate testimony from both those advocating the success of CAMTC and those advocating for sunset and a state board, several scenarios remain. The legislature could sunset CAMTC and the state could revert back to the patch work pre-2009 regulations. The legislature could extend existing law to 2019 and keep CAMTC in operation as is or with various modifications found in the four bills currently before the legislature. The legislature could make licensure mandatory and put the process under state control as suggested by Benson and many local government officials and law enforcement agencies.
"CAMTC is proud of its successes and we look forward to working with the police chiefs, the local communities and other stakeholders to do great things for the massage profession and the public," said Netanel.
Massage Today will continue to report any updates to the sunset review process as details become available. To contact your legislature and let them know about your experience with CAMTC, visi www.leginfo.ca.gov/ to find the representative for your area. If you wish to contact the committee directly, visit http://abp.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff or call (916) 319-3301.
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