Government Relations

Government Relations Update, 1-26-2018:

Cindy Robert, AMTA-OR Lobbyist,

Recent attention has been concentrated on agency work. With the help of government relations committee members (thank you all so much!) we have been covering activities at the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists, and (more often of late) the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners (OBCE).

The OBCE has been adjusting policies and rules having to do with Chiropractic Assistants for almost a year now. Scope of practice language, overstepping of Board statutory authority, certification vs. licensure, tiering of CA certifications, blurring of laws/rules/policy lines, circumventing of public input, myofascial release, DC oversight, lack of definition of physiotherapy…all these issues have collided in the last few months.

We are trying to untangle while also being good partners. Thursday, our Don Schiff was added to the OBCE Rules Advisory Committee. He will help us make sure we are protecting the public from unlicensed massage, and that CAs are prepared to do the work they are assigned. In the meantime, we are fielding concerns from both chiropractors and LMTs about process and policy, and assuring them we are engaged.

2018 is a “short legislative session” year with the legislature meeting for 35 days beginning on February 5 and ending no later than March 11. Bills are also limited with each Representative being able to draft two, each Senator one, each committee three, and the Governor and the Chief Justice five. Deadlines for hearing are incredibly short – definitely no time to discuss issues in depth, which makes some of the topics already on the docket daunting. With the passage of Ballot Measure 101, budget chaos has been averted, but it made way for big policy issues like cap and trade to be the center of attention.

On January 22, many of the bills that will be considered were unveiled. Thus far the only concerning issue on the table from the AMTA-OR standpoint is a bill some of us have seen too many times. SB 1514 sets forth a structure for periodic review of state boards, commissions, committees, task forces and other executive department entities to see if they should be terminated. Some of you will recall our efforts over the years to assure the continuation of OBMT without forced merger with other boards – this bill could have the effect of constantly renewing that conversation. We will watch and engage as needed to preserve OBMT status and semi-independent structure.

Looking ahead to 2019 (where the real policy work has the time to be thoroughly vetted) we have joined with a group of healthcare providers that will continue to work over the next year on changes to the pre-authorization process and third-party trickery that is happening to both practitioners and consumers. The Utilization Management Reform Group includes us, Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Dental Association, Oregon Nurses Association, CAM provider associations and more. Senator Monnes Anderson (a nurse herself) has committed to introducing a package of bills for us…stay tuned!


May 2017 OBMT meeting notes

  • 75% of initially licensed therapists in Oregon have their licenses lapse after the first renewal. It’s very costly to the therapist. OBMT sends out notifications, etc., but people still forget. Maybe AMTA could look into using our list to email our new member therapists to remind them about the renewal process? Not sure we have the relevant information to make it worthwhile.
  • Debra Perssinger, the ED for the FSMTB was present to give presentations on the tools that will be available through them by the end of this year’s Q4.
  • Massage Therapy Licensing Directory (MTLD) Pronounced “Matilda.”
    • Creates a database that can be accessed by state licensing boards only.
    • States will decide what to upload to the system.
    • A way to track the “baddies”
    • If you are investigated, sanctioned, etc. in one state, another state will see that even if the licensee doesn’t disclose they were licensed in another state.
    • There is currently nothing in place to prevent sanctioned people from bouncing from state to state to do massage…unless they did something bad enough that gets them fingerprinted.
    • It will have MBLEX test results and application details
    • States could add things like also known as names, current address, whatever they want & is legal
    • AG Rep, Lori will check on Oregon law and what can be legally shared on the database
  • OBMT voted to move forward with getting Oregon into the system as soon as details from Lori are received.
  • The system is based on what is currently used by Chiros and Nurses nationally
  • Jon (the Rolfer) was elected as the new board chair. David still has four or so meetings left on the board.
  • I made a public statement on behalf of AMTA-OR thanking him for his service to the massage community
  • 2018 OBMT meeting dates were determined to be:
    • Jan 22, March 19, May 18 & 19, July 16, Sept. 17, Nov 5th
  • Debra’s 2nd presentation was about the new FSMTB continuing ed registry launching by the end of the year
    • Accessible by state boards to verify continuing ed hours taken by licensee and vetting continuing ed providers and classes
    • Providers will pay a fee to be a part of the program….each class subject they teach will also be registered…must supply class objectives
    • CEs must meet specific criteria relevant to massage therapists
    • FSMTB recommends 12 hours of CEs per 2 year period
    • OBMT discussed (no action taken) moving CE hours back to 12 hours/2year period…also discussed making the ethics requirement non-contact hours
    • Licensing boards want to make sure CEs are helping with public safety and want something to verify that is happening
    • Tennessee did an audit of their process recently (similar renewal to Oregon’s where only a certain number of renewals actually have to prove they took the classes) and found 87% of renewals were non-compliant. Licensees lied about the classes they took.
    • Compare this system with NCBTMB where you can take classes on Fairy energy waves and have it count for your NCB renewal hours. They don’t seem to have consistent standards regarding what is/is not allowed for continuing ed hours
    • Lots of complaints by CE providers because the application process to be approved is onerous and often inconsistent in what is/is not accepted as an approved class
    • Discussion made it sound like boards will likely be moving to accepting FSMTB classes for CE credit (and moving requirements down to 12 hours) and not NCB in the future because the FSMTB approved classes will be relevant to public safety and minimum competency
    • In the CE registry, boards can see online class evals and be able to weed out classes that consistently receive bad reviews
    • Everything will be electronic including class evaluations
    • Several states already doing Beta testing of this program



Massage Facility Permit Summary

Senate Bill 387 was signed by Governor John Kitzhaber on June 13, 2013. Senate Bill 387 will become operative January 1, 2014. In the coming months OBMT will begin posting the Facility Permit rules and application.


Laws – Oregon Revised Statutes

Rules – Oregon Administrative Rules