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  • 27 Sep 2022 12:30 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    Update to Substitute Senate Bill 5169 (Billing for PPE)

    We first brought you information about your ability to bill for PPE in the spring of 2021. The bill that allowed for this, called out an automatic end point to the ability to bill this code. At this time, the Federal Public Health Emergency has been slated to end on October 13, 2022. So, your ability to bill this code will end on that date.

    The bill language can be found here. https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/5169-S.PL.pdf?q=20220927123546



  • 4 Apr 2022 10:50 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    Being pregnant while working generally requires changes to be made around the workplace during the pregnancy.  Employers have certain responsibilities to provide reasonable accommodations during pregnancy, so know your rights in the workplace.

    The following link will take you to the Washington State Labor & Industries website for more details:  https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/workplace-policies/pregnancy-accommodations 

  • 4 Apr 2022 10:41 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    Many massage businesses require their employees to wear uniforms or uniform shirts.  If the uniform meets certain criteria specified by Washington State Labor and Industries (LNI) then the employer is responsible for paying for the uniform.  If the the employer requires clothing to match colors within a color code, such as all employees must dress in a black shirt and pants, then the employee is responsible for the expense of the clothing.

    For full details about uniforms, please click on the following link:  https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/workplace-policies/uniforms

  • 26 Mar 2022 11:44 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    This blog is a continuation of our posting, "March 12 Changes to Mask Mandate".  For signage and a flyer with details, click on the above link.

    The Department of Health (DOH) posted a pdf on their website titled, "Mask/Face Covering Guidance During COVID-19" (click the document title to read the article).  This document contains verification that wherever LMTs practice, that is healthcare and masking is required in a healthcare setting.

    There are a lot of links in this document from the DOH, the link that describes what qualifies as healthcare can be found at the bottom of the first page -- there are three bullets with the first bullet stating "Healthcare Settings". Click on the link in the first bullet and it will take you to "Appendix A: Glossary" at the top of page 6.  If you scroll down, you'll see that massage therapy has a specific listing.

  • 4 Mar 2022 3:52 PM | Marybeth Berney (Administrator)

    Non-Competition Agreements in the Profession of Massage Therapy

    By Annika Samuelsen, LMT

    If you are a licensed massage therapist and work as either an employee or independent contractor here in the state of Washington, your employer may have required you to sign a non-competition agreement upon hire.  Read on to inform yourself on recent changes to the enforcement of non-competition agreements that might apply to you.

    For anyone not familiar with the term, a non-competition agreement (also called “non-compete agreement'') is a contract between an employer and their employee.  For massage therapists, this is likely a clause detailed in a subsection of your terms of employment. This type of agreement prohibits an employee from working at or starting a business that is or would be in direct competition with their employer’s business.  The agreement may also specify that once employment has been ended, that the employee must not work or start a business within a certain distance of the employer, at least not until a certain amount of time has passed, otherwise they will incur a monetary penalty.

    Non-competes are used in many different professions to protect employers from losing business to their current or former employees.  Washington legislators who viewed non-competition agreements as prohibitive to economic growth and development proposed bill SB 5478, which was signed into law on May 8th 2019 and went into effect on January 1st 2020. The revised code RCW 42.62.020 details: 

    "A noncompetition covenant is void and unenforceable against the employee: [...] unless the employee's earnings from the party seeking enforcement, when annualized, exceed one hundred thousand dollars per year."

    For independent contractors, annual earnings must be greater than $250,000 per year for the non-compete to be enforceable.  Furthermore, these dollar amounts are tied to the rate of inflation, and are therefore adjusted annually.

    Note: A contract that prohibits an employee or independent contractor from actively soliciting an employer’s clients to see them at another location of business (i.e. non-solicitation agreements) is a different topic.

    What does this mean for licensed massage therapists? 

    If you signed a non-competition agreement with an employer, whether prior to or after the date this code went into effect, and your earnings are below the enforceable thresholds, your employer can no longer impose restrictions on where you work now or in the future because the contract you signed has become void and unenforceable.

    If an employer asks you to sign a non-competition agreement even though your annual earnings are below the enforceable threshold, consider directing them to the revised code and the sources listed below when you are negotiating your terms of employment.

    We want our members to be informed about the legislation that protects them so they can be satisfied with their terms of employment.  Please let us know if this information has been helpful to you, and if you would like to read more content on employment and workplace rights.

    References:

    Washington Labor and Industries has a page on non-compete agreements in their section on workplace policies (link).

    Chapter 49.62 of the revised code of Washington (RCW) details the information on non-compete agreements (link).

    RCW bill history of SB 5478 (link).



  • 3 Mar 2022 1:44 AM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    This post was updated on 3/11/22.  Click on the link for "WSMTA--Masking for LMTs Starting 031222" for new information.

    Over the past several weeks, Governor Inslee has announced changes to his August 23, 2021 mask mandate.  However, for healthcare providers, there will be no change for us regarding masking.  Masking for healthcare is still required in our treatment rooms or clinics.  Please click on the following link for a one page summary of what the new masking requirements entail and how this applies to massage therapists.  Should you still have questions, at the bottom of the document is the contact information for the L&I contact person to follow up with.

    WSMTA--Masking for LMTs Starting 031222

    For a sign that can be posted in your massage room or clinic, please click on the following link:

    Sign -- Face Masks Still Required

  • 28 Feb 2022 3:35 PM | Marybeth Berney (Administrator)

    Remembering Deborah Senn:

    Washington’s massage therapy community lost a great friend and supporter with the passing of former Washington State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn. A true champion of integrative and consumer-focused health care, Commissioner Senn introduced the "every category of provider" provision to Washington State Insurance Law in the 1990s which granted significant recognition and protection to massage therapists in this state. This provision not only paved the way for inclusion of massage therapists within private and state-run insurance plans, but it also provided the framework used by the federal government in the drafting of the "every category of provider" clause within the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

    As a consummate consumer advocate, she transformed the Office of the Insurance Commissioner from insurance company-friendly to a consumer-centric one when she won her first term in 1992, becoming the first woman to serve in that statewide elected position.

    She died at Swedish Medical Center on February 18 from complications related to pancreatic cancer. Senn is survived by her husband, Rudi Bertschi, as well as a brother and a sister.




  • 8 Dec 2021 10:33 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    1.      Is Temperature Taking Still Required?

    Here is the history and the current guidelines for healthcare providers in a healthcare setting:

    The requirement for taking temperatures was originally mandated for all healthcare providers in healthcare settings (includes massage regardless of where it is done) on 5/18/20 by the governor in Proclamation 20-24.1 Reducing Restrictions on, and Safe Expansion of, Non-Urgent Medical and Dental Procedures: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-24.1%20-%20COVID-19%20Non-Urgent%20Medical%20Procedures%20Ext%20%28tmp%29.pdf

    In this proclamation, it is specifically required in the 5th bullet from the bottom on page 4:

    Use on-site fever screening and self-reporting of COVID-19 symptom screening for all patients, visitors and staff prior to (the preferred approach), or immediately upon, entering a facility or practice.

    On 11/25/20 the governor updated this proclamation to 20-24.2 Requirements for Non-Urgent Medical and Dental Procedures which you can read at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/proc_20-24.2.pdf.  This proclamation is still in effect.

    Unlike proclamation 20-24.1, 20-24.2 does not specifically call out temperature taking.  Instead, it states at the bottom of page 4:

    Follow CDC Guidance on Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, including any subsequent amendments, for COVID-19 symptom screening for all patients, visitors, contractors, volunteers, and staff prior to, or immediately upon, entering a facility or practice.

    Temperature taking is a part of COVID-19 symptom screening for all patients, but it's no longer specifically called out, to include on the CDC website.  So either you would need to know that your clients are taking their own temperatures and are truthfully stating that they do or do not have a fever, or you would need to take it as it's the only measurable sign/symptom.

    2.      Can Clients Take Their Masks Off When Receiving Massage?

    As of 12/8/21 when this article was published, the answer is still no, neither the massage therapist or the client can take off their mask when a massage is being provided unless they qualify for an exemption that is listed in the Secretary of Health’s exemptions which is found in his Order 20-3.6 on mask wearing.

    The current mandate requiring mask wearing is the Governor’s Proclamation 20-25.15 which went into effect on 8/23/21.  You can find this at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-25.15%20-%20COVID-19%20Washington%20Ready.pdf

    The Secretary of Health’s order on masks 20-03.6 can be found at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/Secretary_of_Health_Order_20-03_Statewide_Face_Coverings.pdf

  • 4 Oct 2021 11:24 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    WAC 246-830-475 Continuing Education Requirements states:

    1) To renew a license, a massage therapist must complete twenty-four hours of continuing education every two years, as provided in chapter 246-12 WAC, Part 7. Continuing education must be provided by an individual who has at least three years of professional experience in the subject area being taught. Massage therapists have a duty to ensure the continuing education they complete meets the requirements in this section.

    There are many changes to the massage CE WAC.  We've blogged about CPR and changes to CE certificate requirements.  However, there are two important changes that are more subtle, I've highlighted them in the above WAC language.

    The yellow section indicates that the instructor has to have "...at least three years of professional experience in the subject area being taught".  Prior to the WAC update on 9/1/21, anyone could have taught anything with or without the experience to do so.  Now, there is an experience requirement that CE teachers need to meet.  This means that if you travel to another state, take a class from an out-of-state instructor or take a class from a local instructor you need to make sure that they have the experience to be eligible to give CE credit for you to take their class to have it count in Washington State for license renewal.  The three year's experience requirement does not mean that a CE instructor has to have taught the subject matter for three years, but that they must have learned the material and be experienced in it for three years worth of time.  If someone only has one or two years experience in a subject, it does not mean that you can't take their class to learn the material, it just means that you can't use the class to count as part of your CE hours to renew your Washington State massage license.

    The blue section indicates that it is every LMT's responsibility to make sure that the CE they take meets the state CE requirements.  This means knowing if your instructor has appropriate experience (check their website or contact them if you can't exactly determine if they do or not), that you've met the correct CE categories and hours and that the certificates that you receive have all of the information required on them to be acceptable.

  • 4 Oct 2021 10:55 PM | Robbin Blake (Administrator)

    Before making a decision to do something different with your massage license (letting it expire, putting it into inactive status, etc) you should contact the Department of Health at 360-236-4700 to find out what you need to do.

    If you are thinking about taking time off from doing massage and your renewal is coming up, you can put your license into inactive status instead of just letting it expire.  At the time of your renewal, instead of renewing at the $166 rate (current renewal fee at the time of this posting), you would renew at $66 (current inactive license renewal fee) to maintain an inactive license. 

    If you continue to stay inactive over several years, you only pay the reduced inactive renewal fee at each renewal point.

    If you want to renew your license at some point after going inactive, you can reactive your license by contacting the Department of Health, satisfying any CE requirements and paying the difference of $166 (or whatever the current renewal fee is) and $66 (or whatever the last inactive renewal fee that you paid was)  --- that is, you don't need to pay the full renewal fee, just the difference between the two fees.

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