We want to thank everyone who attended the recent meeting in Montpelier. It was a great opportunity to meet some of our outstanding ABMP members and engage in a meaningful discussion regarding the regulation of massage therapists in Vermont. For those who were unable to attend, this email is meant to fill you in on the discussion.
As you know, ABMP & the Vermont Chapter of the AMTA co-hosted a forum to discuss massage therapy regulation at the UU Church in Montpelier VT on Sunday May 17th. The goal was to create a space for people to come and express their thoughts and concerns surrounding massage therapy regulation in Vermont. Overall, we are confident that this was accomplished.
The forum was well-attended by more 50 people, mostly massage therapists and bodyworkers, as well as a few allied professionals and family members. The four panelists, Janet Kahn, Maureen Slayton, Jean Robinson and Lj Stewart, gave various viewpoints, history and feedback throughout the forum. People were asked to present their question/concerns to the panelists who then spoke to those specific issues, while Moderator Dean Corcoran interjected questions that had been written by attendees or submitted previously to the forum from people who were unable to attend in person. It was a lively discussion filled with many different perspectives. Most attendees did agree that we are not comfortable with legislators deciding how to regulate the profession without hearing from profession as to how it should be done.
Much of the discussion centered on people’s fundamental philosophy of the role of government and the effectiveness of regulation in general. But there are specific portions of a potential licensing law that were of concern to attendees. Many expressed concerns related to the type of regulation we would seek (if any), such as registration, certification, or licensing. More commonly expressed concerns had to do with grandfathering existing practitioners, who would be exempt from regulation, if people would still be able to apprentice or learn massage outside of a school, if regulation affects your day-to-day practice, and how to get legislators to listen.
Next steps: The legislature has required the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) to review a new Sunrise Application from the massage community. ABMP and the VT AMTA chapter will be drafting the new Sunrise Application for OPR by July 1, 2015. Once a draft is complete, ABMP will be sending it to members via email for your comments. We will call your attention to specific areas of interest so you don’t have to read the entire document if you do not choose to do so since it will be quite lengthy.
Everyone agrees that there needs to be more outreach to massage professionals who are not necessarily members of an association. The challenge is that it’s hard to reach out to people you don’t know exist. Please feel free to send any communication about this issue on to colleagues who may not be members of ABMP or the VT AMTA chapter.
The next Forum will be Saturday October 3rd at 2:00pm at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Burlington.