Friday, January 29, 2021

Hello Maryland AMTA Members,

We all hope that 2021 is starting off well for you!

There is a lot happening at the moment and we want to keep you posted. Please read on for information about:

  • Legislation being introduced by AMTA-Maryland in this session.

  • News about the One-Tier System from the latest MBMTE meeting

  • Other updates from the MBMTE including vaccine information

  • Planning Ahead
  • Annual Meeting in April
  • We are seeking Virtual CE providers and suggestions
  • Convention 2021 - Tampa

As always, if you have any questions or concerns after reading below, please feel to reply or visit us on Facebook for more of a discussion - our main page is https://www.facebook.com/amtamd

Take good care,

Amelia Mitchell, LMT, LLCC, BCTMB
Board Member and Government Relations Committee Chair
Your AMTA-Maryland Chapter Board
It is the time of year that we head back to Annapolis to work on legislation, although for 2021 it will all be managed virtually.

AMTA-MD in collaboration with the Maryland Board of Massage Therapy Examiners has put together a bill that we hope will be introduced next week.

It includes:
Updated fingerprinting requirements that will work with the Central Repository and allow the MBMTE to receive criminal history updates promptly. This was introduced separately last year and is a change many of the health boards have implemented.
COMTA Endorsed Curriculum - adds this as a new requirement for massage schools to better assure that future massage therapists are receiving a comprehensive education.
Removes a loophole that allow insurance to not pay for massage
Update Language in Definitions
Clarification to Inactive Status
Replace "Universal Precautions" with the correct and current – "Standard Precautions"

AMTA-MD's other major goal for this legislation was to remove the term "Massage Parlor" from Maryland code so we would never have to be affronted by this outdated and derogatory language. Unfortunately, I have a bit of egg on my face on this, because there isn't a place in Maryland law where we can fix it and move on. The places where the words are found we don't want to be listed at all. So our plan is to add a definition of Massage Establishment as something that we can point our government and elected officials to as an alternative to the awful parlor language. We are also looking for other educational opportunities. Stay tuned for more on that.

We expect the bill to be non-controversial and move through relatively easily. Once it is introduced we will ask our members to contact their local Senator and Delegates with your support for the bill.
On Wednesday the Licensing Committee of Maryland Board of Massage Therapy Examiners introduced their recommendations for the conversion to a One Tier System.

Please remember that all of this must be changed via legislation, the soonest this will happen is 2022 meaning any changes will not take place until late 2022 at the earliest, many changes won't be until 2023 or 2024.

They voted on and approved:
  • New educational requirements of a 750 Hour Massage Education for the single tier of Licensed Massage Therapists.
  • College credits are not required, however the Community College massage programs will remain as strong candidates for training because many have career goals supported by earning a degree and additional advanced education.
  • The other educational requirements remain similar with research added as a required topic.
  • They have changed the CPR requirement to Basic Life Support

What is NOT decided - how the current RMPs will be converted to LMTs. What the timeline is and what the requirements are. The Licensing Committee offered a variety of options.
  • The first option is Legacy and all RMPs from a certain date back would automatically become LMTs.
  • There is a well supported option to Legacy all RMPs who have been registered for 10 years and up to LMTs immediately duue to their experience and many years of CE studies.
  • The other options are a combination of requiring that the current RMPs document additional education beyond their massage schooling to meet the new 750 hour requirement and allowing for documented work hours to convert to educational hours.
  • Documented CE hours could advance an RMP from the 600 hours of massage school to the 750 now required - requiring 150 hours of CEs
  • One suggestion is to allow 500 hours of work to equal 30 CEs, meaning an RMP would then only need to document 120 hours of CEs.

AMTA Maryland is looking at the options for this conversion. We have suggested that RMPs at 5 years or more receive the legacy advancement to LMT.

We fully appreciate that current LMTs put in a lot of effort and expense for their education, we see that hard work as an asset that you are not losing in this conversion. You are skilled and well trained and bring that to your client sessions and employment opportunities. The change to a single tier is meant to bring understanding, equity, and clarity to the profession.

Our priorities are that individuals are not asked to spend a lot of extra money or time to get more education if that is not practical for their lives, and have a pathway to RMP or the option to remain an RMP. We also appreciate that experience is important and are glad that the Board is considering options that give credit for working experience. We also recognize that many went to schools with more hours, or have some college and want to find equitable paths for all RMPs.

We are gathering input at this time and will make a more formal suggestion to the Board in February.

Jurisprudence Exam - the Board is considering ways to make the test easier to access for applicants and less of a burden on staff. They are investigating the costs and practicality of offering it:
  • As an add on to the MBLEx for people seeking Maryland licensure
  • As an online test through the FSMTB's REACH portal
  • As an online test through the Board's website
In all examples a much larger bank of questions would be developed with the assistance of FSMTB and all the tests could be randomized. A variety of formats are being considered with the goal being that applicants read laws and regulations and answer questions.

COVID Vaccinations - board member David Cox gave an update on availability in Maryland. We have all received emails from the Board providing the local information for all LMTs and RMPs to be vaccinated at this time. As licesensees and registrants of the Department of Health we are all eligible for group 1A. We are aware of many who have gotten their first vaccine and will get their second in the following week or two.

To access vaccination you need to contact your county directly. That list is provided at the end of this email.

Other committee reports and items for consideration, the Board discussed whether future CE's should include in-person hands-on requirements for some number of CEs. They also are considering the impact of some distance education programs that would offer the hands-on training at a massage business.

The Board also decided on a more complete definition of "Advanced CEs" for the current system that allows RMPs to advance to LMTs. Any course that is an introduction, overview, or teaches entry level massage topics will not qualify as an Advanced CE.

2021 will continue to be impacted by COVID and our Annual Meeting will once again be held virtually in late April. Your Maryland chapter does not plan to offer any in-person continuing education during 2021 either.

We are seeking input and suggestions for Virtual CE classes for 2021. Do you know an instructor that offers a quality class or is there a class that you are interested in? AMTA-MD would be happy to offer some virtual classes this year, please send us your ideas. You can reply to this email, or email President David Madon directly at president.amta.maryland@gmail.com

Tampa, August 26-28, 2021 is the current plan from National for the AMTA Annual Convention. We will share more as we have more information and of course COVID-19 is a consideration for all planning.

County Health Department Information for COVID-19 Vaccine distribution from the Board of Massage Therapy Examiners

Mon, Jan 11, 2021


Dear Licensees and Registrants:
On January 5, 2021, Governor Hogan announced changes to the state's vaccine distribution plan, with updates to each phase. Maryland Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Phase Information.

PHASE 1A: All licensed, registered and certified health care providers anywhere in the state are now eligible for vaccination. Vaccinations will also soon be underway for all law enforcement agencies, correctional officers and frontline judiciary staff. Phase 1A represents more than 500,000 Marylanders...

Links to COVID-19 Vaccine Information by County
Allegheny County Department of Health Please call 301-759-5000 for their vaccination schedule.
Cecil County COVID-19 Vaccine Information. Call the COVID Hotline at 410-996-1005, and they will send you the survey link for health providers. The county is not making this survey public so you must call individually. 
Somerset County Department of HealthIf you are in one of the Phase 1A categories and wish to be vaccinated, send an email to Somerset.COVIDvax@maryland.gov.