resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02
Electile Dysfunction: Setting a Dangerous Precedent
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB
With the 2016 Presidential campaigns sucking up all available bandwidth in the media, there were two recent elections in the massage therapy field that passed under the radar that raise deep concerns about fairness, transparency and democratic process.
I'm talking here about the Board of Directors elections for the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Both elections featured dubious changes in voting procedures that were not authorized by the respective memberships of these non-profit, tax-exempt organizations. The changes have resulted in the diminishment of the voice of the members and the further concentration of power in the hands of very few people.
AMTA's annual election for its Board of Directors and Officers have not garnered much attention in recent years, with less than 3% of the 56,000 professional members voting. However, these elections have been run according to an open and fair process, with all AMTA members having equal opportunity to run for seats on the Board. A Commission on Candidacy (itself elected by the membership) was in charge of ensuring that candidates met basic qualifications in the AMTA Bylaws.
This past August, the AMTA Board changed the entire election structure, giving the President the power to select the Commission on Candidacy (COC). The COC, in turn, was empowered to select a slate of candidates from the pool of those who submitted applications, with just one candidate for each Board seat. The entire slate was presented to the membership during a two-week window in November for an "Accept" or "Reject" vote. By the way, the voting instructions gave no information on what would happen if a majority of members rejected the slate. If that wasn't bad enough, the new election structure removed the ability of AMTA members to select the association's President and Vice Presidents. The officers are now chosen by the Board of Directors, after the rubber-stamp election takes place.
AMTA's 2014 Board elections reached a new low in cronyism, as Board members were allowed (for the first time) to publicly endorse their favorite candidates. The 2015 Board election has now enshrined cronyism as the law of the land, as the entire selection process is now controlled by the association's President. And this closed-shop mentality was used effectively to screen out some highly qualified candidates who would have pushed the association in much-needed new directions. Bar the door to change, and order up another round of drinks to celebrate!
The press release sent out by AMTA on the recent election touts its success in doubling the participation – up to a whopping 6%. They claim that 87.7% of the 3,389 members voted to approve the slate. Since there were no other choices or options given, this vote cannot be given any more credence than someone hitting the "Like" button on a Facebook post.
Why does this election process and the AMTA Board even matter? Because the organization is a public trust, and it is sitting on a cash reserve of $15 million that could be used to truly advance the profession and improve the quality of services provided. As it is, much of the association's money is used for the care and feeding of itself, the professional staff, and its state chapters. AMTA is little more than a social welfare club for those who serve in "leadership" positions at the state and national levels – massage therapists who get free travel, lodging and CEU's for conferences and conventions. Fun for them on your dime.
Here's another way to look at what has happened: Imagine that the election process for your local city council was changed by the council without being put to the voters for approval. The new rules allow the mayor to choose a committee to hand-pick candidates, and only one candidate is presented to the voters for each open council seat. And once the election is complete, the council chooses a mayor from within its own group. Conflict of interest? An affront to the principles of representative democracy? You're damn right it is, and it's exactly what AMTA has committed.
Their claim to being a "member driven organization" is now a total lie. They are now driven by the President and Executive Director, supported by a 1% "Ruling Class." No dissent allowed. And yes, I am an AMTA member.
It Gets Worse
Well, it's no prettier over at FSMTB, where its leaders have gradually reduced the power and voice of the state massage regulatory agencies that constitute the membership of this important organization. Just before representatives of the state agencies gathered for their Annual Meeting last October, the process for electing members of the FSMTB Board of Directors was changed without the permission of the Member Boards. Sound familiar? In the new process, candidates (hand-picked by the Nominating Committee) were pitted against each other for specific seats, instead of all candidates running at large for the available seats on the Board. It's a mystery who decided which candidates were to run against whom. And forget about Member Boards being able to nominate candidates from the floor during the meeting – that right was taken away a few years ago.
This last-minute change to the election process did not go over well, and a number of Member Boards abstained from the vote to express their concern with an action that had been taken without their permission. The meeting was further muddied by a vote taken on a resolution introduced by the New Jersey Board to change the exam requirements for the MBLEx. The resolution was passed by the Delegate Assembly, but was later invalidated by FSMTB staff because a page was left out of the materials provided on this resolution. Why even hold these meetings, with the appearance of a representative democratic process, if it can all be changed by the whim of professional staff "behind the curtain?"
FSMTB appears to be emulating some of the worst behavior of NCBTMB when that organization was in its heyday. Over the last several years, the Federation's annual meetings have become vacation junkets ... on the beach in San Juan, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and most recently in Albuquerque for the big international Balloon Fiesta. That one ensured there was plenty of hot air to go around at the meeting.
The success of the MBLEx has taken FSMTB from poverty to poshness in just seven years. With the organization now sitting on a cash reserve of about $8 million, they should be utilizing it for the good of the profession. As I mentioned in my last column, FSMTB can't even make good on its most basic obligation to provide exam preparation materials to students and massage schools. Why should we trust them to handle continuing education approvals?
As the expression goes, "Follow the Money." In the case of these two organizations, it leads to the executive directors of AMTA and FSMTB – each of whom are making more than $300,000 per year in compensation. These individuals are the ones in real control, with the glad-handing Boards of Directors there mostly for show. The problem is that the people in these elected positions have forgotten that they have the power to hire and fire their executive directors if they are not performing up to snuff. It's time for them to wake up and find association management professionals who can bring these organizations into higher levels of service.
If you care, you must put pressure on your State Massage Board to work to reform The FSMTB. If you are an AMTA member, you should let them know how you feel, and soon. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and involvement. If you don't protect your rights and freedom, they will be taken away. And they are very hard to get back.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.
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