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  • 14 Oct 2022 7:47 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    For four days over October 20-23, 2022 there is a free vision clinic offering free vision exams and prescription eyeglasses.  Anyone from the Seattle/King County region who struggles to get access or afford healthcare is welcome.

    This is a first-come, first serve clinic that starts at 6am each day of the clinic and is held at Seattle Center.  All medical professionals and staff are volunteers. For full details, click on this link:

    https://seattlecenter.org/patients/

    This clinic has been occurring annually since 2014 and has provided free medical, dental and vision services.  It took a hiatus during the pandemic.  This is the first year it is operating again, but only as a vision clinic as they navigate such a massive healthcare undertaking through COVID.  It is possible they may offer free health and/or dental services again in future annual clinics, so keep this website in mind for 2023 if you or someone you know might benefit from their services.

  • 14 Oct 2022 5:37 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    Currently, in a massage practice or clinic, blankets are defined as a single service item, meaning that after every use, the blanket must be laundered.  The Board of Massage had considered changing how often a blanket must be laundered but decided in it's July 29, 2022 meeting to keep blankets a single service item.

    WAC 246-830-005 Definitions subsection (12) defines linens.  The WAC currently states: 

    "Linens" means sheets, blankets, towels, gowns, pillow cases, face cradle covers, and other nonimpervious fabrics used in the practice of massage.

    WAC 246-830-500 Equipment and Sanitation subsections (5) and (6) currently state:

    (5) A massage therapist must provide single service materials or clean linen such as sheets, towels, gowns, pillow cases, and all other linens used in the practice of massage.

    (6) Linens must be stored in a sanitary manner. All towels and linens used for one client or patient must be laundered or cleaned before they are used on any other client or patient.

    The Board of Massage has been in the process of amending 5 WACs, which also included WAC 246-830-500 Equipment and Sanitation.  The Board of Massage had planned to amend the language to read:

    (5) A massage therapist must provide single service materials or clean ((linen such as sheets, towels, gowns, pillow cases, and all other)) linens used in the practice of massage. Linens must be stored in a sanitary manner.

    (6) All ((towels and)) linens ((used for one))that come into direct contact with a client or patient must be laundered or cleaned before they are used on any other client or patient. Blankets used on a client or patient must be laundered at least once a day or when the blanket comes in direct contact with a client or patient or becomes soiled.

    However, in the July 29, 2022 Board of Massage meeting, the Board of Massage decided to keep blankets a single service item, which requires laundering after each client use.

  • 14 Oct 2022 3:33 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    On September 27, 2022, the Department of Health sent an email out to every massage therapist it has an email address for.  The email stated:

    Continuing Education in Person Training Waiver Ends December 31, 2022

    Dear Interested Party:

    At its September 23, 2022 meeting, the Board of Massage (board) voted to not extend the expiration date for Policy Statement BOM 20-01.6 Continuing Education Requirements During the COVID-19 Response. The policy, which is in effect through December 31, 2022, waives the requirement for an LMT to obtain in person and directly supervised massage skills training as part of their continuing education.

    Beginning January 1, 2023, to renew their license, LMTs will be required to complete the CE requirements as provided in WAC 246-830-475, subject to the exception outlined below.

    Exception
    An LMT whose CE reporting date is after December 31, 2022, will not be found non-compliant with their CE if they obtain their CE hours in accordance with the allowances of the policy while it is in effect.

    Example
    An LMT who must report their CE by February 20, 2023, will not be required to obtain eight hours of in person training if they complete all CE requirements in accordance with the policy’s allowances before December 31, 2022.  Their next CE reporting date would be February 20, 2025.

    In addition, the Board will continue to exercise its authority in WAC 246-12-210 to review extenuating circumstances that may prevent an LMT from meeting their CE requirements.

    Davis Hylkema
    Interim Program Manager
    Washington State Board of Massage
    massage.therapy@doh.wa.gov

    Click on the link, https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOH/bulletins/32f45fa to read the email in an official format.

    A shorter version of this email is also published on the Department of Health, Massage Therapist page, just click on https://doh.wa.gov/licenses-permits-and-certificates/professions-new-renew-or-update/massage-therapist to read it.

  • 13 Sep 2022 9:38 AM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    The Washington COVID state of emergency will end on October 31, 2022. The rest of the Governor’s Proclamations, that are still in effect, will come to an end on this same date. Here is a link to the latest news release from Governor Inslee’s office about the ending of the COVID state of emergency.

    https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-end-remaining-covid-19-emergency-orders-and-state-emergency-october-31

    But (there is always a but) it is important to understand that the requirement to mask in healthcare settings is an order from the Department of Health and as of this writing, this requirement will continue past October 31 (see below).

    The state wide face covering order issued by the state Department of Health will remain in place for health care and long-term care settings, as well as correctional facilities under certain circumstances after the state of emergency ends. The governor is also looking at options to ensure there are protections for workers who choose to wear a mask in their workplace.

    As updates are available, we will post them here. Until then masking is still required in all massage therapy places of business.


  • 27 Feb 2022 1:12 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    How many times per month do you have to turn away insurance patients because you are too full?

    Respond via email to: info@mywsmta.org
    Subject: Question of the Month 

  • 27 Feb 2022 11:59 AM | Carl Wilson (Administrator)

    *SAVE THE DATE*
    Empowering LMT's and Clinic Owners in an insurance dominated environment.

    More details to come.

  • 21 Dec 2021 3:39 PM | Marybeth Berney (Administrator)

    What is it that you would like to know, but might not know, about operating a massage practice or being a massage therapist in the state of Washington? For example: 

    • Do you have questions about the new WACs that have gone into effect for massage therapists in the last couple years?

    • Do you have questions about the current COVID-19 regulations for healthcare providers?  

    • Maybe you have tax questions or questions about business structures for healthcare providers?

    • Maybe you would like to know more about the details of effective insurance billing or charting. 

    Let us know what knowledge would help you to feel more confident in being a massage therapist employee or running your own practice or clinic.

    Contact us at info@mywsmta.org




  • 14 Dec 2021 4:17 PM | Marybeth Berney (Administrator)

    Written by Stephanie Dickey, Edited by Marybeth Berney

    As a practicing LMT for over a decade now, I have the honor of being a former member and chair of the Board of Massage (BOM) in Washington and am a current volunteer for the Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA). In that time, I have witnessed a great deal of confusion from LMTs about what the various state agencies and organizations are, as well as the differences in what they do. I have had questions where LMTs have been confused about how and where to go for information, requests or procedures. With good reason! There are many acronyms to keep track of and each entity does very different things. The truth is that there are many ways we can be a part of our profession and be a voice or advocate for the things we believe in, if we know the right place to go.

    LMTs are often not sure what each agency/organization’s focus is or the subtle differences within them. Unless you are volunteering your time in one of these groups or you are interested in government, regulation and massage, you are likely not thinking about how the rules that govern your profession came to be…until you need to be that is! My hope here is that this information can assist in helping you find your way.   

    Many of the laws/rules that govern us in massage are created in two ways: legislative acts (Revised Code of Washington, RCWs) and Board of Massage rulemaking (Washington Administrative Code, WACs). These are entities that are part of the State and are tasked with the primary goal of protecting the public and creating laws and regulations that allow a profession to operate without infringement on financial gain, while not harming the public while doing so. They also define what our scope of practice is and how we can operate within that scope.

    Each one of these branches of government are only able to create or define certain actions or language in our profession. For instance, the Board of Massage (BOM) cannot create a new scope of practice. For example, if we wanted to increase our scope to use Cold Laser Therapy, the House and Senate health committees and Washington State legislators would first have to take up this scope of practice request as a bill and vote to approve the new scope of practice thus creating a new RCW or expanding an already existing RCW. Then the BOM would create rules, also known as WACs, to give detail to this new law regarding our scope. This can also happen in other ways. A recent example was a law that passed in Washington requiring LMTs to have their valid government issued photo ID and their massage license present while they are working. This law was passed by the legislature and then adopted as law with no need for the BOM’s input. It is also possible sometimes that a court case can cause a need to change rules or laws and when this happens, both the legislature and the BOM may need to take action to line up with the court findings.

    The Board of Massage does not set your rates for licensure and state legislators are only a little bit involved in this. Existing laws and regulations require that all healthcare boards be financially self-sufficient. The cost of licensure is based on all the costs of support staff and their responsibilities for licensure, complaints, etc. associated for each profession. This means if the Department of Health receives lots of complaints about our profession, or many LMTs are not fulfilling their CE requirements or other requirements, the cost of investigating and potentially adjudicating cases increases costs to the Board.  Every year, these fees are reviewed and the rates rise and fall based on the budget’s bottom line for the Board of Massage.

    The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) is also a part of this governmental dance in our rules for practice, as they oversee the laws that are created by legislation for health carriers and thus healthcare providers. They also monitor how those laws and rules are administered.

    The following is a brief summary of each of the Governmental entities.

    House Health Care and Wellness Committee/Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee

    These two legislative committees consider a broad range of issues relating to the provision of physical and behavioral healthcare services; long-term care; and strategies to promote better health. Healthcare service issues include the licensing and regulation of healthcare facilities and the credentialing of healthcare providers. The committee also regulates pharmacies and pharmaceutical drugs and has oversight and regulatory responsibility for state public health programs. The committee also considers issues relating to the accessibility and affordability of healthcare in both the private health insurance market and public health programs such as Medicaid and the state health exchange.

    Department of Health (DOH)

    The Department of Health is a branch of Washington State's regulatory entities and within the DOH is the Health Systems Quality Assurance (HSQA), this division oversees all boards and commissions that represent and regulate healthcare providers. The DOH is involved in creating regulatory guidance for all healthcare providers, such as the protocols and rules recently established for COVID-19. They also credential licensees and review continuing education completion. They are guided by, and answer to, the Secretary of Health. The BOM is one of many  boards governed by the Department of Health's Health Systems Quality Assurance division.

    Department of Health - Board of Massage (BOM)

    The mandate of the Board of Massage is to protect the public’s health and safety and to promote the welfare of the state by regulating the competency and quality of professional healthcare providers under its jurisdiction. The Board accomplishes this mandate through a variety of activities working with the Department of Health, Health Systems Quality Assurance division. 

    The Washington State Board of Massage was created by the legislature. The Board consists of four professional members who are appointed by the governor for a term of four years each. Members must be residents of this state and shall have not less than three years’ experience in the practice of massage immediately preceding their appointment and must be licensed  and actively engaged in the practice of massage during their incumbency.

    In addition to the professional members, the governor shall appoint a consumer member of the board, who also serves for a term of four years. The consumer member of the board must be an individual who does not derive his or her livelihood by providing healthcare services or massage therapy and is not a licensed health professional. The consumer member must not be an employee of the state nor a present or former member of another licensing board.

    Powers and Duties of the Board of Massage

    1) In addition to any other authority provided by law, the board of massage may:

    (a) Adopt rules in accordance with chapter34.05 RCW necessary to implement massage practitioner licensure under this chapter, subject to the approval of the secretary;

    (b) Define, evaluate, approve, and designate those massage schools, massage programs, transfer programs, and massage apprenticeship programs including all current and proposed curriculum, faculty, and health, sanitation, and facility standards from which graduation will be accepted as proof of an applicant's eligibility to take the massage licensing examination;

    (c) Review approved massage schools and programs periodically;

    (d) Prepare, grade, administer, and supervise the grading and administration of, examinations for applicants for massage licensure;

    (e) Establish and administer requirements for continuing education, which shall be a prerequisite to renewing a massage practitioner license under this chapter; and

    (f) Determine which states have educational and licensing requirements for massage practitioners equivalent to those of this state.

    (2) The board shall establish by rule the standards and procedures for approving courses of study in massage therapy and may contract with individuals or organizations having expertise in the profession or in education to assist in evaluating courses of study. The standards and procedures set shall apply equally to schools and training within the United States of America and those in foreign jurisdictions.

    Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC)

    “We protect consumers, the public interest and our state’s economy through fair and efficient regulation of the insurance industry”.  With 242 employees (and 400 volunteers), we are one of the smaller state agencies, but we cover a lot of ground:

    • Holding down costs to consumers by reviewing insurers' proposed rates.

    • Answering questions and investigating problems from more than 100,000 consumers each year.

    • Recovering millions of dollars a year for consumers with insurance disputes or delays.

    • Licensing and auditing the 37 insurers based in Washington -- and monitoring the other 2,135 that do business here.

    • Testing, licensing and monitoring the more than 158,000 individuals and businesses that sell insurance here.

    • Collecting more than $1.1 billion a biennium for the state’s general operating budget.

    • Maintaining a statewide network of volunteers who advise thousands of consumers on health care issues.

    This is done with virtually no state general-fund dollars. Most of their budget comes from assessments charged to the insurers regulated.

    Where Do YOU Come Into This Equation?

    In many ways, you are already a part of this process. You are licensed and working in the field of massage and learned the techniques and laws in our profession to become an LMT. You also have the opportunity to be part of a larger body of voices, both in our state and across the country through massage organizations. They are not governmental entities and many of them are nonprofit organizations, they often influence and work closely with the massage boards and legislators in states to influence and help create language for our profession. In fact, much of the laws that change and the rules that are written are created by the organizations and then presented and lobbied for. This is where so much of the groundwork is laid for making changes in our profession.

    The following is a list of the organizations that work with the state and that make changes across the country while advocating, suggesting and supporting the profession of massage and what they do.

    Washington State Massage Therapy Association-WSMTA (Non-profit)

    “The Mission of the Washington State Massage Therapy Association is to Advocate for Massage Therapy as a Recognized and Respected Healthcare Profession.”  The WSMTA was formed in 2015.

    • WSMTA is completely independent of any national massage therapy association and as such can focus its attention on challenges and opportunities that are unique to Washington LMTs.

    • Until WSMTA, massage was the only healthcare provider group in WA that was not represented by a State Association.

    • WSMTA is not supported or influenced by massage corporations and large chain lobbyist activity.

    • WSMTA promotes and ensures the accessibility and financial viability of massage therapy as a reimbursed healthcare service through advocacy and communication with government entities (agencies), third-party insurance payers and allied healthcare organizations.

    • WSMTA provides necessary resources for practitioners of massage therapy, including advanced education in manual therapy and healthcare business development as well as advanced credentialing avenues.

    Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals - ABMP (For-profit)

    Professional liability insurance, discounts on massage products, massage business services, free website builder, Find a Therapist database of members…are just a few of the benefits.

    This organization has a Government Relations position that keeps updated on all the states current laws and changes state by state. They send a representative to board meetings to support or reject changes to language and to advocate. They also work on larger broader issues that affect all massage therapists across all states. 

     American Massage Therapy Association - AMTA (Non-profit)

    “The mission of the American Massage Therapy Association is to serve AMTA members while advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy.”

    AMTA offers professional liability insurance, member discounts and offers online educational CE for massage.

    • AMTA’s president and the executive director are the only persons with inherent authority to speak for or on behalf of the AMTA or to bind AMTA to any agreement.

    • AMTA seeks cordial relations with all professional massage organizations and it requires chapters and local AMTA groups to develop joint political efforts with compatible non-AMTA groups.

    • AMTA and its chapters should not create or be affiliated in any way with political action committees (PAC).

    • The purpose of AMTA Chapters shall be to hold meetings and conduct the business of the Chapter; provide professional and social networking opportunities; organize educational, legislative, public relations, and membership programs on the state and local levels; provide various means of communication such as publications; and support the activities and programs of the National Association for the benefit of its members. The Washington Chapter is called AMTA-WA.

    National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

    NCMTMB maintains that Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential attainable in the massage therapy and bodywork profession with a distinct level of achievement beyond entry-level licensure—including completing more education, hands-on experience, and a background check—that will give meaning to your career (and your clients!) with credentials that matter. Formerly the top content creator for testing of LMT’s in all states, NCBTMB is more focused now on continuing education and competency.

    That’s why they created the Board Certification credential for the profession. It is more than just another credential—it’s a lifelong commitment to raising the standards of our esteemed profession. Even more, Board Certification now aligns the massage therapy and bodywork profession with other allied health and medical professions, enhancing value and credibility to what we do best.

    A Specialty Certificate symbolizes advanced education and training in a particular modality or when working with a specific population—requirements both massage therapy leaders and healthcare organizations agree are necessary to:

    • Further elevate the standards of massage therapy

    • Further massage therapy’s role in integrative healthcare

    • Provide therapists access to high-quality, advanced programs for specific modalities and populations

    • Ensure patients receive the best possible care

    The creation of NCBTMB’s Specialty Certificate Program furthers its mission of defining and advancing standards by creating yet another career pathway for massage therapists. By partnering with major healthcare organizations and academic programs across the country, Specialty Certificates empower current and future massage therapists with the top-notch education and experience necessary to succeed in various environments or when working with specific populations. NCBTMB’s Specialty Certificate Program provides the credentials to prove such training, as well as continues to tier the profession—an evolution NCBTMB is proud to be a part of with Board Certification, and now with Specialty Certificates.

    Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards  (FSMTB)   

    The mission of the FSMTB is to support its member state massage boards (42) in their work to ensure that the practice of massage therapy is provided to the public in a safe and effective manner. In carrying out this mission, the FSMTB shall:

    • Support efforts among member boards to establish compatible requirements and cooperative procedures for the legal regulation of massage therapists, in order to facilitate professional mobility and to simplify and standardize the licensing process

    • Ensure the provision of a valid, reliable licensing examination to determine entry-level competence

    • Improve the standards of massage therapy education, licensure, and practice through cooperation with entities that share this objective, including other massage therapy organizations, accrediting agencies, governmental bodies, and groups whose areas of interest may coincide with those of member boards

    • Represent the interests of its member boards in matters consistent with the scope of the bylaws

    • Is offering CE required course content to some states and encouraging others states to join.

    FSMTB History

    In early 2005, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) convened a meeting of massage regulators and educators to re-energize a former “Alliance” of the massage regulatory community. Attended by representatives from seven regulated states, along with educators from around the country, this group recognized the need to establish an organization that could bring the regulatory community together in its mission of public protection. Importantly, the concerns of most significance were the need for the provision of a valid and reliable licensing exam and the desire to bring commonality in licensing requirements to assist with professional mobility. The commitment to re-energize this former alliance came to fruition with the formation of an interim organization. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) formed an interim board consisting of all the regulators in attendance. This interim board was charged with conducting research into other similar organizations, reaching out to the community for feedback, drafting bylaws and planning a meeting to formally establish the organization. In September 2005, the FSMTB held its formalizing meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico prior to the annual American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) convention. The meeting was attended by 22 states and the District of Columbia. During this landmark event, bylaws were unanimously adopted, and the first formal board was elected. Additionally, dialogue arising from the meeting suggested that three key issues were of utmost concern for the massage therapy regulatory community:

    • The need for consistent scopes of practice and entry level standards across the country

    • The need for a valid and reliable licensing exam that would be accepted by all jurisdictions

    • The need for a common database with licensing and disciplinary information and the ability to store critical documents

    Since the formational meeting in September 2005, the volunteer Board of Directors and committee members have continued to diligently work to establish a foundation upon which to build and advance the organization to carry out the desires of the member states.

    How to Become Involved

    Most states now have legislation and licensing for massage. Whether you are a LMT, LMP, RMT,CMT or something else, there is likely a website for your regulatory agency. Organizations create a voice for us and help to maintain regulation and scope of practice, as well as many other things. During the last two years, many of these organizations provided guidelines and information to give LMTs a way to successfully navigate COVID- 19. Some groups such as the WSMTA, AMTA-WA, and ABMP monitor, attend, and provide feedback for government entities. They also monitor insurance providers’ changes to contracts and provide LMTs important information that may impact their practices.

    One of the most effective ways to understand how we all work together is to get involved with your local massage groups and organizations. There is one sure way to help make change or support the massage profession: leave the therapy room for just a short amount of time and get to know your Board of Massage and other massage organizations. Attend a meeting or volunteer a bit of time to work on one of the many things that the organizations are working on. It is important to network with others and talk to people in our field. Groups such as the WSMTA, ABMP, ATMA, NCBTMB and FSMTB all have places where you can get involved and have a voice in your profession.

    We know this all seems like a lot for someone to take in.  We know that you are trying to balance a career, life, and potentially all sorts of other things, but it will be handy information for you at some point . The best thing to do is find one place to start getting connected and the rest will usually flow. You do have a voice. Go throw that pebble in the pond and watch the waves!

    Contact us at WSMTA if you are interested in volunteering time and becoming a part of our organization or explore some of these other links for information as well.

    To learn more about these organizations and Government entities please visit the websites below. 

    Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA) - https://www.mywsmta.org

    Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) - https://www.abmp.com

    American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) - https://www.amtamassage.org

    Washington Chapter, American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA-WA) - https://wa.wp.amtamassage.org

    National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) - https://www.ncbtmb.org

    Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)  -  https://www.fsmtb.org

    Department of Health - https://www.doh.wa.gov/

    Dept. of Health - Board of Massage  (BOM) - https://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/MassageTherapist

    House Health Care and Wellness Committee/Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee - https://leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/HCW/Pages/default.aspx

    Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) - https://www.insurance.wa.gov

  • 3 Oct 2021 12:09 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    We want to know what non-technique, web based, 2-4 hr content CE you would attend?

    Lets us know at info@mywsmta.org

    Use "WEB CE's" in the subject line.

    Thank you for your ideas and input.

  • 11 Jun 2021 9:46 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)


    Sustaining and Growing Your Business in Tough Times: Thinking Outside the Box During the Pandemic

    In this live, interactive webinar our presenters will present creative healthcare business models. Thinking outside the box, they will share the benefits and risks of various models as well as the underlying values that inspire them.

    Our presenters, from an array of healthcare practices, will inspire you to consider new ideas to grow your practice or recover from the effects of the pandemic.

    • June 27 2021 at 9:30AM - 2:30 PM
    • Zoom attendance is limited to 100 participants.
    • Free to members, must be a member to attend.
    • 4 Continuing Education Credits
    Register Here




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