Oppose AB 369/SB 288 Occupational License Review Board

Published: March 11, 2019

AB 369/SB 288 Proposes an Occupational License Review Board which will recommend which occupational licenses and their respective continuing education requirements should be downsized or eliminated.

AMTA Wisconsin Chapter urges all members to contact their state legislators to request they oppose these bills in order to retain current massage therapy/bodywork therapy licensing and continuing education requirements. You may also ask your family, friends, and co-workers to contact legislators as well. Please remember to include, "Thank you for your consideration" when emailing or calling.

You may locate your legislators and their contact information by entering your address at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

If you wish to register against this bill in person, or testify,
There is a hearing 10 am, Thursday Aug 24.
State Capitol, Room 411-S, 2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53703

Bill text and tracking:
     AB 369
     SB 288

The following is text of a paper to be distributed to legislators. Feel free to draw from this for your own message:

The Massage Therapy Association – Wisconsin Chapter with its 2,137 members, urge retention of the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Therapy Affiliated Credentialing Board.

The credentialing board protects the public from unscrupulous actors including those who prior to licensing used the massage therapy profession as a front for prostitution and human trafficking. The credentialing board both protects the public and provides a sense of consumer confidence about qualifications for any massage therapists performing specific services. Legitimate licensed massage therapists invest in education and training and abhor the illegal abuse of unscrupulous individuals. Massage therapists can obtain continuing education credits, free of charge or very affordably (as low as $2 per credit), so financial hardship is not a valid reason to do away with CE.

Massage therapists work with all kinds of individuals, some for relaxation, others who are sick and injured. Massage therapy is considered a vital part of complementary and integrative medicine and practices in hospitals, medical clinics, chiropractic offices, physical therapy offices, hospice facilities, and with infants born to opiate addiction and sports teams. Individuals receive massage therapy post-operatively for procedures like open heart surgery, mastectomies, and joint replacements. These people deserve to know that the massage therapist treating them is credentialed.

Since its inception, the Massage Therapy Board has disciplined bad actors. For example, 16 licensed or previously licensed therapists were disciplined in 2016, a 100% increase over the previous year. (This does not include non-licensed and never previously licensed individuals). Issues included sexual assault, inappropriate touching, sanitation practices, falsified information on license applications, presenting as if a licensed massage therapist to cover for other criminal activity, failure to maintain records, failure to obtain informed consent, practicing without current license, and aiding practice by non-licensed practitioners. Almost all resulted in license revocation or suspension and where appropriate, law enforcement was alerted. Several instances required mandated continuing education, fines, counseling, inspections, and quarterly reporting.

The savings to the state is negligible to eliminate our board ($25,000), but would create new risks and send Wisconsin backwards. One civil suit can exceed $25,0000 for all parties involved. Wisconsin prides itself on allowing professions asking for regulation and oversight to “handle their own” and ensure best practices and a certain quality of care. We urge you to carry on with that tradition. We respectfully urge members of the committee to maintain current law and continue supporting the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Therapy Affiliated Credentialing Board.