2014 Legislative Session Notes

By Jean Robinson
[Government Relations]

Fingerprints Required

Delaware (SB 98), Florida (HB 1065), and Maryland (HB 401) all passed laws to require fingerprinting and background checks for all new license applicants. The vast majority of states already require this of all health professionals.

News for Indiana

In Indiana, SB 421 removed the requirement that state-certified massage therapists list the “State of Indiana” as an additional insured on their professional liability insurance, and SB 358 failed to change the state certification (title protection) law to a mandatory practice act.

Regulation on Hold

There are still six states that do not regulate massage therapy at the state level: Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wyoming. Kansas, Minnesota, and Vermont had solid efforts this year to regulate the profession, but all three efforts were unsuccessful. Alaska could become the 45th state to regulate the profession. Alaska’s HB 328 passed the legislature this year and is awaiting Governor Sean Parnell’s signature.

Affordable Care Act Confusion

ABMP was pleased when the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided earlier this year to invest some time and effort into soliciting comments regarding Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The actual language in Section 2706 is quite clear in its intent to eliminate the blatant provider discrimination that currently exists in our health-care system. However, the April 29, 2013, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document issued by the US Departments of Labor, HHS, and Treasury created confusion in many states and has resulted in conflicting conclusions and interpretations. We encouraged the departments to amend the FAQ document so that it accurately reflects the language in Section 2706. We believe this section is vitally important to the future of affordable health care.

California Awaits Decision on CAMTC

AB 1147—the bill to reestablish the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) and authorize CAMTC to continue to voluntarily certify massage therapists—is still in process. The bill is much improved from the original version, which ABMP had serious concerns with. CAMTC is not a state board or agency; it is a private nonprofit the California legislature established to issue certifications. As such, CAMTC certification cannot be made mandatory. The only way to have a mandatory credential is regulation through a state agency. ABMP encouraged the legislature to stop outsourcing this important regulatory activity to CAMTC and to establish a mandatory licensing program under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, just as other professions in the state are regulated. Unfortunately, that is not possible at this time, so it is likely CAMTC will be re-established and certification will remain voluntary.