Member-Results: Summer 2020’s Surveys “Massage as Healthcare” and “Online Elections”

One of the great things about being an AMTA member in Nevada is that the national AMTA-organization supports the fair regulation of and the movement forward of the massage therapy profession in Nevada. One of the easiest ways to see that is in how the chapter is able to and moves forward ideas from our members to the organizations, legislators, and public that are served by its members and the profession in Nevada, like through member-Surveys and speaking during Public Comment at our Nevada State Massage Therapy Board meetings.

In 2020, there have been a couple of issues and resolutions the chapter’s leadership team wanted to explore, and especially through surveying its members, regarding

a) moving the massage therapy profession in Nevada forward, and

b) the way the chapter operates regarding electing its leadership, in the future.

The Results of these Surveys and what they could mean for the AMTA Nevada Chapter’s members, the profession in Nevada, and the Nevada massage-receiving-Public are outlined in the following:

a)

The chapter Board of Directors was presented, by the Government Relations Committee, an idea of How massage therapy could be viewed – legally – in order for it to be regulated as it has been for 15 years and additionally be recognized by lawmakers, other healthcare professions, and the Public as a form of healthcare in Nevada…without a ‘medical’ classification. This could be achieved by being included as a profession (like Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Athletic Trainer, Music Therapist, etc) within NRS 629.031. On July 23rd (& for 10 days), the Chapter asked this question:

“Would you support the profession of Massage Therapy in Nevada to be included in the category of “Provider of healthcare,” as described in and related to NRS 629 “Healing Arts Generally”?”

The chapter preceded the member-Survey with some background:

Currently, in NV:

  • Massage Therapy (MT) is considered a Personal Service;
  • A NVMT performs work that can be billed using a [medical] NAICS Code, CPT Codes, and is recognized by the WHO (ref: ICHI Beta 3) all of which provide bases for remuneration;
  • Recent events have restricted access of MT by patients/clients who would otherwise need MT to maintain their good health status;
  • The NSBMT’s requirement of “550 Education Hours” et al for eligibility to perform any type of MT (from relaxation to healthcare-related) applies to all Applicants, regardless of their intent for performing MT;

…all with the intent to either bring up to speed and/or put – in a contemporary-context – information that may have been helpful to our members in answering the survey-question.

In the members’ response, there was an overwhelming number of Respondents (142, 13.4% of the 1056 Survey-invitations Sent) who, at 98.6% (140 of them), responded “Yes” to the chapter’s Question. Fifty-eight (58) Comments were added to the “Yes”es, to elaborate why each Respondent answered “Yes”, primarily indicating that massage therapy has health[care] benefits.

2020 AMTA-NV Survey Results - Massage Therapy As Healthcare

This information was summarily presented by the Chapter President, Elizabeth Benion, in an Open Letter to the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapy on August 19th, 2020, in the morning’s Public Comment, with a request for the Board to consider the process of moving the massage therapy profession forward, in the direction of being considered healthcare in Nevada. Already on the Agenda was an Item of Discussing the potential of Massage Therapy in Nevada moving toward being recognized as healthcare, officially – check it out in the Chapter’s NSBMT Meeting Notes for 8/19/2020. Stay tuned for more of this developing topic in our profession in Nevada.

b)

Since 2020 made allowances for non-live, chapter activities to take place online – in an electronic format: leadership Elections, Annual Meeting, etc – the Chapter Board of Directors was interested to find out if the members would want to continue an online-portion of 2020’s chapter governance, being: holding Annual Elections online. They thought this method of conducting chapter-business for its members in the electronic age might be worth considering, since the national AMTA organization also conducts its National [Board of Directors] Election online and support many state-chapters in conducting their Annual Elections online already, so on August 1st, they asked:

“Starting with (and continuing, annually) the 2022 Election for open chapter

leadership positions, would you support Voting Online for your chapter

Leadership?”

The chapter preceded the 10-day member-Survey with some background:

Currently, in the Nevada Chapter:

  • Every year since 1999, member-elected leadership Positions are filled during a live-Election, held during the chapter’s Annual General Business Meeting at the AMTA-NV State Convention;
  • A President-appointed Commission on Candidacy accepts & vets Nominations and provides ballot material for use during the live-Election;
  • During the chapter’s 2020 Annual Elections, the membership was able to elect their leadership through an online-Election process, due to a determination of and guidance by the National AMTA Office, due to a pandemic that restricted live events;
  • The chapter’s Standing Rules do not allow regular, online-Election measures, only live-Election measures;
  • The Nevada Chapter would need to, by member-Approval in a Vote taken at the next [live] Annual General Business Meeting, change the Standing Rules, to change the way Elections are held, from live-Election to online-Election measures.

Of the 63 recorded Responses sent to 1056 Member-Recipients (6% Response-rate), 51 (81%) answered “Yes”. Of the 13 Comments that elaborated on their Choice (Yes or No), the support for online-voting mostly favored “convenience” and “participation of all”, while a minority of the Comments expressed a live election is acceptable.

2020 AMTA-NV Survey Results - Chapter Online Elections

In order to change the way the Nevada Chapter members vote during Annual Elections, the Chapter needs to change its Standing Rules to reflect its Election practice – for the record and per proper governance-procedures.

As a result of this survey, the AMTA-Nevada Chapter Board of Directors has convened the Standing Rules Committee, which is currently reviewing and redrafting Nevada’s Standing Rules to reflect Online Election procedures. The membership is slated to vote to pass the proposed, new Version of the Standing Rules in mid-2021, to be effective with 2022’s Annual Elections.
The AMTA Nevada Chapter Board of Directors wishes to thank all participating members for their input in taking action to move the profession of massage therapy in Nevada forward.

AMTA’s Health Care Relationships – Advancing the Massage Therapy Profession

AMTA’s Health Care Relationships 2013
An Update of the Association’s Relationships
and their Impact on the Massage Therapy Profession

The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) continues to be involved in ongoing interactions with health care, wellness and medical organizations with several goals and objectives in mind:

  • To influence the health care community so it acknowledges the value of massage therapy and professional massage therapists;
  • To educate all in the health care and wellness industries about the benefits of massage therapy and the growing body of research that supports its value;
  • To increase collaboration between AMTA, its members and other health care and      wellness industry leaders;
  • To enhance the potential for massage therapists to practice in collaboration with other health care providers  and in integrative care; and,
  • To increase the overall acceptance of massage therapy and advance professional opportunities for all massage therapists.

AMTA’s Health Care Relationships

Massage is increasingly accepted by consumers as an important component of their health and wellness.  Meanwhile, new clinical massage research is also getting the attention of more people in the medical community.  The health care situation in the U.S. is constantly changing and is even more complex in light of the Affordable Care Act.

“We have gained the respect of many in health care and they recognize AMTA as the best resource for information about massage therapy,” says AMTA President Winona Bontrager.  “They appreciate AMTA’s approach to massage therapy and health care and look to us for input to better understand how massage therapy and massage therapists can continue to be more integrated into health and wellness care.”

Involvement in National and International Health Care Meetings

As part of its involvement with leading health care organizations, AMTA has been an active participant in several industry meetings in 2012-13.  These have included the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health; the International Medical Program’s Integrative Oncology Healthcare Professional Training Conference; the Annual Integrative Healthcare Symposium; the International Congress for Educators in Complementary and Integrative Medicine; and, the Third International Fascia Research CongressThese meetings continued to validate that leaders in health care are acknowledging that health care in our country needs change; and integrative approaches for patient care are important trends that need cultivation.  They also provided opportunities for AMTA to forge new relationships with many leaders in health care who can influence the further acceptance of massage therapy.

For example, AMTA’s participation in the International Medicine Program’s 1st Annual Integrative Oncology Healthcare Professional Training Conference in February 2013 allowed AMTA to gain valuable insight and perspective from one of the foremost integrative oncology programs in the country. This perspective will assist AMTA as it continues its approaches to healthcare.  The goal of the conference was to review the principles and disciplines of integrative oncology and to identify indications and contraindications for complementary therapies within the cancer population. The conference was designed for physicians, nurses, social workers, dieticians and other healthcare professionals who care for cancer patients and have an interest in better understanding integrative oncology.

The networking connections made at this conference will also help reinforce AMTA’s commitment to quality massage education and our willingness to be collaborative partners in projects that will help advance the art, science and practice of massage therapy.

AMTA Relations with the American Medical Association (AMA)

Susan Rosen of Washington State continues to serve as AMTA’s representative to the AMA’s Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC).  As AMTA’s Primary Advisor to HCPAC, she is the massage therapy representative on the committee. HCPAC serves in an advisory capacity to the AMA CPT Editorial Panel. This relationship gives AMTA and the massage therapy profession input on review of CPT codes associated with massage therapy.

AMTA also continues to provide the AMA with an updated description of the massage therapy profession for its Health Care Career Directory. This directory provides information on recognized health care fields and is also used as a resource by those in a variety of health care professions.

Massage Therapy and the Affordable Care Act

AMTA has been actively engaged with federal agencies and U.S. congressional offices, since the Affordable Care Act was introduced more than three years ago, about its impact on massage therapists and those they serve.  AMTA is approaching the ACA in a very practical and systematic way, which will promote and protect the best interests of massage therapists and avoids jumping in too quickly and making assumptions that might prove counter-productive.

The association is moving forward with a plan for vetted research to make the case for massage as an integrated part of health care.  This will provide a foundation for all we do at the national level and what we will pursue in each state.  This also will ensure that what we bring forward is valid and relevant to the process of achieving acceptance within the framework of the ACA.

Anyone following the evolution of the ACA is likely aware that dates for implementation, as well as interpretations of its meanings and legal decisions, are still very much in a state of flux.  Therefore, AMTA is continuing to directly engage both the congressional offices of those who developed the legislation and the government agencies that will be implementing the new law.

Public Education and Engagement with Health Care Centers

  • Since spring 2012, AMTA has issued three Research Roundups that summarize a variety of research on the health benefits of massage therapy.  These Roundups were distributed to health and medical publications, as well as consumer media outlets.  Excerpts from them and the research they cite has been published by several medical and health care publications and online sources with a total audience reach of well over 100 million.
  • AMTA’s 2013 Massage Therapy Tour, which primarily reaches out to consumers to educate them on the health benefits of massage therapy included educational stops at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting and offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  AMTA members engaged these health care professionals in discussions about the growing body of research on massage therapy, how to find qualified massage therapists and how massage therapy is being integrated into health care in a variety of settings.
  • Through a collaboration of relationship building and communications, AMTA is engaged in ongoing conversations with major medical centers about integration of massage therapy into patient care

 

What Does All of This Mean for Massage Therapists?

The American Massage Therapy Association is actively engaged every day in advancing the profession.  These relationships with the health care/medical communities provide a strong voice for those massage therapists who seek to work within health care, while recognizing and protecting the rights of those massage therapists who practice in other sectors of the massage therapy profession.

Further acceptance of massage therapy as a viable part of health care and wellness will benefit all in the profession.  Not only will it present new potential for those who want to work within health care, it will provide all massage therapists with confirming support for what they do, whether it is in private practice, in a spa or health club, a massage therapy franchise, or with a sports team.

As the body of research on the efficacy of massage therapy is expanded and results published, AMTA will continue to use the research and its relationships in health care to advance the massage therapy profession in the eyes of the medical profession and the public.