Ohio Bill Could Have Negative Impact on Massage Therapists

House Bill 259, introduced on June 14, 2011, proposes to exempt individuals who practice energy work or movement education from Ohio’s health care professional licensing laws under which massage therapists are licensed as “limited practitioners of medicine.” The bill contains a lengthy list of “complementary or alternative health care services” that would be exempt from licensing if the bill were to pass. Many of the health care services listed in the bill as exempt are currently regulated under massage therapy and are commonly accepted synonyms for massage and/or bodywork therapies.

While ABMP supports having certain practitioners exempted from massage licensing, we believe that legislation with the sole purpose of legislating such exemptions is, at best, unnecessary. At worst, such legislation can create confusion and even provide the rationale for creating unworkable regulatory schemes to regulate these “exempt” practices. In our view, legislation is not needed to declare that certain practices are not legislated.

To further confuse the issue, HB 259 goes a step further to establish an investigatory process for a complementary or alternative health care practitioner alleged to have violated the bill. How the state plans to discipline or revoke a practitioner’s right to practice when the practitioner is not regulated by the state is hard to imagine.

We will keep you posted on any developments as House Bill 259 moves through the legislative process.

Click here to access the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of H.B. 259.