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ADVOCATE FOR MASSAGE THERAPY AS A RECOGNIZED AND RESPECTED HEALTHCARE PROFESSION
The September 8, 2017 Washington State Board of Massage (BOM) meeting was held in Spokane, WA. The primary two topics for discussion by the board was the "Rules Workshop" and the "Application For Approval of a Transfer Program".
On July 30, 2017, the last round of rule making changes that the Board of Massage had approved went into effect and become published WACs that all massage therapists must now obey. During this first rule making process, the Board of Massage decided to shelve several topics for a future round of rule making and to reopen several other topics for further discussion and definition at the same time. In order to reopen the rules, a new CR-101 had to be filed with the state. This will be the second round of the rule making.
The CR-101 is a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry, which gives the public notice that the agency is considering developing a new rule, amending an existing rule, or repealing an entire rule or sections of a rule. This allows the public an opportunity to participate in the rule making process at an early stage. In order to create a CR-101, the AMTA-WA submitted a petition requesting a CR-101 based on those topics discussed at prior Board of Massage meetings and the BOM approved the creation of a CR-101 at the 7/7/17 Board of Massage meeting held via conference call. The new CR-101 was filed on 9/7/17.
Essentially the new CR-101 covers the following topics:
At the September 8 meeting, after some discussion the Board of Massage decided to schedule the 2018 meetings and then schedule when each topic was planned to be discussed. The list of meetings and rule discussions is:
The end goal was to be able to process the next CR-102 and CR-103 by the end of the year 2018 or by the beginning of 2019. The CR-102 and CR-103 is the process by which the public becomes involved and WACs are created/amended. The BOM decided that having a scheduled processed would aid in helping to reach the end goal and help interested parties to organize their efforts.
No rules were discussed at this meeting. It was essentially a planning meeting around the rules process. The public commentary section was added back to the agenda, so many useful comments were made by the public to the Board about a variety of topics.
Application For Approval of a Transfer Program
With the legislative approval in early 2017 of new law to create a transfer program to permit massage schools to accept students from other programs (schools from out of state, from other local schools, students who have a background in another health profession like nursing for example who want to transfer credits from a college or university). WAC 246-830-037 Transfer programs and transfer of prior education and clock hours was created as part of the prior rule making processes and went into effect on 7/30/17 and defines the transfer process. However, up until now, the Department of Health hasn't had an application or process by which to approve schools who want to have a transfer program. Up until now, the Department of Health has allowed transfer students to apply for licensure under the old system. To help the process along, the Department of Health created a new application form and presented it to the Board of Massage for approval. The BOM approved it. The BOM and Department of Health representatives at the meeting settled on a process of requiring massage schools who already have a transfer program to submit their application by 11/15/17 and applications would be reviewed and approved/denied at a special conference call meeting to be held on 12/15/17. Massage Schools who wish to create a transfer program either could also submit applications by 11/15/17 or at a future time.
Human Trafficking Taskforce Update
Lilia Lopez, who is the Assistant Attorney General to the Board of Massage is being replaced by another AAG whose name I did not catch. The new AAG had a discussion with Farshad Talebi, from the Attorney General’s Seattle office. Mr. Talebi is the AGO’s specialist in human trafficking issues here in Washington.
The new AAG stated that there were approximately 400 storefronts offering massage that are on the Human Trafficking Taskforce's radar in Washington State. He mentioned that they were highly mobile and could close and set up shop easily. The taskforce has decided that a way they can deal with these "illegitimate massage businesses" (IMB's) was to inform landlords that they could be charged with a crime by renting to organizations who do illegal businesses and perpetrate crimes on the premises. It was thought that this way they might be able to reduce the IMBs abilities to offer illegitimate massage to the general public.
The Board requested that the new AAG arrange for a specialist on this topic to provide an educational session at one of the future BOM meetings to help educate the board members on the situation.
Written by Robbin Blake
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