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This is more of a comment, then a discussion. Or maybe it's a complaint? I've been a massage therapist here in Alaska for approximately 21 years. Until recently Alaska was an unregulated state, as far as massage goes. Sense this licensing, as of a couple years ago, I have seen literally no advantage or benifit of living in a licensed state.. As a matter of fact, it's just the opposite. I have spent over a thousand dollars in the last year and a half for licensing fees, cpr certification, continuing education and so on...Just to be able to work? Before that it was paying only a $100 every two years to the city of Anchorage. Now I have to get finger printed every two years. And of course pay for that service.... take cpr classes, even though I've been in the US Army getting that training every year- plus I actually saved a guy's life doing cpr a year ago. Then the continuing education? After 30 years? Come on.. I know learning never stops, but I've always studied on my own. I've even developed my own set of soft tissue procedures that are mine and unique. But all that doesn't matter. No one in the history of my massage career has ever asked to see my license expert an employer. And my license has not made my insurance credentialing any better or efficient. Oh, to go back to the finger prints. My finger prints don't change. Why don't thy keep them on file. They can look them up any time they want? Why have me take time off of work, pay money for the finger prints, then mail the finger prints off with a processing fee of $60? The cpr class takes half a day and $70.
I understand, kind of, the reason for licensing. But, it has not helped me one bit. All I can say I was free of all that for the vast majority of my career. Being none licensed all that time has allowed me the freedom to study whatever I want, on my own, to be free and creative. Licensure , as far as I can see, is very limiting, and actually surpresses the maximum potential of our profession. Ya can't get much beyond Myofascial Release. And our license has way more poteythen that.

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I don't know about Alaska but do you have a problem with untrained people working in massage "parlors"?  In our area, we had a lot of problems with them posing as fronts for prostitution rings.  Even now, we have a bunch of places doing clothed "massage" with no clue of what they are doing.  Part of the issue is that energy work (reiki, reflexology) is unregulated (as it should be). 

Do you have clients asking for reimbursement from HSA/FSA or submit for medical insurance? About 1/2 of mine do.  They would not be able to get reimbursed if they go to an unlicensed massage parlor.  I'm considered a medical professional licensed through the Virginia Board of Nursing.

They make you get fingerprints every time you renew?  We only give fingerprints when we first get licensed.

Check your state requirements, it may not be worth it to get licensed if the techniques you use can be done over clothing and you don't do any medical massage.

Every two years we have to be finger printed. I work with a medical doctor. Patients are fully clothed, and I’m considered a medical provider. Before regulation massage therapists here in Alaska were still billing insurance companies and getting paid .

Rolfers and structural integration people are exempt from the licensing bull—t. The prostitution massage parlor thing has slowed down. But that never had an influence on my income anyway. However , the licensing regulation has taken precious money from me. And now I’m trapped into the continuing education box( another money drain ). However I was lucky enough for 30 years to study whatever I wanted without any parameters. And that’s allowed me to develop my own system of bodywork, which is truly revolutionary. This whole licensing thing ties into our education system which is truly lacking. Read the recent post of the overwhelmed student. It’s all tied in together.

In our area, you would not be allowed to work in a medical setting without the proper licensing.   This year, my clients are required to provide my license number for reimbursement.  How does one determine who knows what they are doing vs. who is a fraud in Alaska?  I'm constantly defending my prices because of the "massage parlors" that do cheapo "massage".  I've even had a spa want to hire me so they could match the prices of the unlicensed back rubbers next door.  Nope, I don't do "cheap" massage.

Chair massage, Rolfing, Thai Massage, Muscle Activation Technique - those all do not require licensing in VA, DC and MD.  Even the guy down the road that does NMT (Travell and Simons) isn't a LMT because people remained clothed.  It may be a non-issue for you if it's like most states.  But the medical billing may not be allowed.

Finger printing every 2 years sounds totally out of line.  Once they have you on file, you should be on file.



We are licensed by the state. Before state regulation we were licensed by the city. We had to get finger printed and background checked every two years, and show proof of graduation from a school that required at least 700 hours of training. Now that massage is state regulated, it’s way more expensive. And as far as continuing education goes. I’d rather spend $200 on a medical or acupuncture text about pain then be forced to take a myofascial release or ethics class. It’s all my personal feelings on the subject. No one else seems to be concerned or bothered about it. Oh, we have to take a cpr class every two years as well. I must have had 40 of those classes already. For me personally it’s just a money drain and inconvenience. Laura Garza said:

In our area, you would not be allowed to work in a medical setting without the proper licensing.   This year, my clients are required to provide my license number for reimbursement.  How does one determine who knows what they are doing vs. who is a fraud in Alaska?  I'm constantly defending my prices because of the "massage parlors" that do cheapo "massage".  I've even had a spa want to hire me so they could match the prices of the unlicensed back rubbers next door.  Nope, I don't do "cheap" massage.

Chair massage, Rolfing, Thai Massage, Muscle Activation Technique - those all do not require licensing in VA, DC and MD.  Even the guy down the road that does NMT (Travell and Simons) isn't a LMT because people remained clothed.  It may be a non-issue for you if it's like most states.  But the medical billing may not be allowed.

Finger printing every 2 years sounds totally out of line.  Once they have you on file, you should be on file.

I totally agree with you. I could see if when you graduate school a therapist applies for a license from the state. Take fingerprint then and that’s it. Continuing Ed prices and licensing fees penalize the part time therapist. And how many classes on Ethics are needed over and over again. You either get it or you don’t. It’s very ironic here in Illinois where our politicians have the worst ethics

Carroll Monson said:

And how many classes on Ethics are needed over and over again. You either get it or you don’t. It’s very ironic here in Illinois where our politicians have the worst ethics
Maybe there should be legislation that requires the politicians to be required to take Ethics CEU's.  :P
.

This is a good one.  We were told, we meaning massage therapists, that the advantage of being state licensed is that insurance companies now have to recognize and pay us as providers.  Blue cross federal will only pay for massage therapy if it’s done in a chiropractic or physical therapy clinic.  Well I work with an anesthesiologist in a pain management clinic.  So they are refusing those patients my services.   Can you believe that?  On top of that, they are only paying if the massage is done on the same day as a chiropractic or physical therapy session.  

Give me a break.  I’m working with medical doctors?  What...that’s not good enough?  

Plus it proves insurance company policies trump a state massage license.  And that an Alaska state massage license, or a medical doctors license for that matter, is not as strong as a physical therapy, or chiropractic license?

I would have thought the anesthesiologists office whould have gotten all of this information prior to hiring you, if they are doing the billing.  It seems someone didn't have the forethought to make sure your services were going to be covered.  Poor prep on their part.

I'd say state licensure is a lot more about credentialing, keeping proper tabs on it's therapists and having a place for people to report issues... and lot less about getting paid by insurance companies.  I'm disappointed that is what Alaska was billing as the main advantage.

Well the Doctor and company I work for, knew that getting reimbursed by insurance companies for my work would be iffy at times.  They knew that from the beginning.  I’m on salary.  The doctor told me that he  didnt hire me for money, he hired me for the patients.  I’m doing a fair amount of pro bono work as well. 

The thing I’m pissed about.  Is this whole licensing thing.  I see no difference between working in a none regulated state compared to a regulated state except that I’m paying five times the money to maintain my license.  And we were told that being state licensed meant that insurance companies have to pay for our services.  

Anyway, I said my complaints about this to the state licensing board.   After all.  If that same patient and myself were in a chiropractic clinic, insurance would cover his service.  The board is now looking into the situation to see if anything should or can be done.  

Pueppi Texas said:

I would have thought the anesthesiologists office whould have gotten all of this information prior to hiring you, if they are doing the billing.  It seems someone didn't have the forethought to make sure your services were going to be covered.  Poor prep on their part.

I'd say state licensure is a lot more about credentialing, keeping proper tabs on it's therapists and having a place for people to report issues... and lot less about getting paid by insurance companies.  I'm disappointed that is what Alaska was billing as the main advantage.

I’m going to keep complaining on this subject.  Must be something wrong with me?  Everyone else seems fine with this stuff.     I’m required to get 16 ceu credits or whatever every two years in order to maintain my license.  There are some famous educators coming through Anchorage, now that we have to do this continuing education stuff.   They are charging over $600.00 for that 16 cue credit.   And I’m personally not interested in anything they are teaching or being offered.  Add that cost to all the other costs they are requiring for licensing.  It’s a huge amount of money to maintain your license.  I have a huge library of text books that I’ve been able to purchase and study from over the years.  That’s how I prefer to learn.  Im constantly Cruzeing  amazon for books that tweek my professional interests.  A good text book can cost 50.00 to $200.00.  All these live  courses being offered, from what I can see, are some individual rolfers  version of myofascial release or deep tissue massage.   Interestingly enough, the rolfers and structural integration people, are exempt from the massage licensing requirements? Yet that’s what they teach massage therapists?  Give me a break.  

Anyway.  I think I figured out what I’m going to do.  I’m going to take a home study course on Anatomy and physiology(18 ceu)for around $230.00.  I think that’s the least costly way, and most good I can do for myself given the parameters I’m now locked into.  

Actually, I should  become a ceu instructor?  Because what I’d teach, would not be some rearranged Rolfing class.  

Does your state allow you to get credit through video with ABMP?  If so, there are tons of options for free on the ABMP site, if you have your insurance through them.  https://www.abmp.com/practitioners/education-center

Well, I’m not a member of ABMP.   I don’t need the insurance.  I don’t particularly like the ceu s they are offering.   But, it is free.  I will definitely think about it.   Pueppi, what kind of continuing education requirements do you have?  And what do you usually do to maintain those requirements?

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