2023 Chapter Annual Member Meeting Report

Saturday April 29, 2023 Meeting called to order at 10:00 am. Washington on Saturday, April 29, 2023. President Summer Meyer welcomed all chapter members and thanked members for staying engaged.

Introductions of Board Members, Committee Chairs and Chapter Contractors.

Board Members: President Summer Meyer, Board Members Linda Bucher and Kathryn DeBaca, Financial Administration NgocLoan Nguyen. Delegates: Brandi Higbee and Amy Thomason. Government Relations: Diana Thompson. Volunteer Coordinator: Allison Hanelt. Communications Committee Chair: Guinevere Jones. Web Administrator: Julie Onofrio.

Thank you volunteers for doing a lot for the chapter!

Chapter Contractors: Event Planner Terri Hoskins, Lobbyist Leslie Emerick

The Following Reports were given:

Government Relations Report Presented by Leslie Emerick and Diana Thompson

Leslie: AMTA-WA was tracking 33 bills at height of legislative sessions. 13 of those bills pass.

Massage Compact Bill HB 1437: There was a hearing on January 25th, in house committee on post-secondary education and the bill died in post-secondary and work force committee. This bill would require that 7 other states adopt the same bill in their state to form the Massage Compact Committee.

The Massage Compact is a project created by the Department of Defense and the Federation of Massage State Boards to create license portability for military members and spouses to be able to travel more easily from state to state.

Diana Thompson (AMTA-WA GR): Important Issue with the massage compact: The Compact requires that people with 625 hours of education can apply for a compact license. This 625 hours can be made up of basic massage school education PLUS CE credits. The jurisprudence exam is not required and we think that’s a big issue in this state because we have endorsements for intraoral massage, animal massage and we have very specific education for breast massage required. The compact does not include language requiring the jurisprudence exam.

AMTA National’s Position on the compact from their letter of support in OH legislature:

“And although AMTA has concerns regarding some of the language, specifically but not limited to, setting the bar for education at 625 hours when that number is inconsistent with how states are currently regulated, assurances have been made by both CSG and FSMTB that a pathway for those practicing in states that have fewer than 625 hours as a condition of licensing will be clarified through ‘rule’ once the Compact Commission is formed and we hope and expect that those assurances will be honored.”

2S House Bill 1009 Military Spousal Employment: Passed. Establishes more flexibility for Department of Health to manage new licensure that’s coming into Washington State and to do so in a timelier manner. It allows military spouse to terminate an employment contract without penalty after service member receives orders for permanent change. This was highly supported during legislative session; we supported this legislature and are happy it passed.

House Bill 1655 : Concerning contractor contract compensation. The fee schedules paid by insurers have not been increased for many years and many practitioners can no longer afford to take insurance. This bill would have established an increase in compensation from prior year for health care services that reflect increases in the consumer price index for all urban consumers over the previous year. We signed on a letter that we supported this and we were all excited about this — the legislature not so much. This bill died this legislative session.

Substitute House Bill 1508 was trying to limit the amount of money a person services could be raised over a period of time and limited increase charges. We do not have the power to negotiate rates with insurers. We have what they call “take it or leave it” contracts which usually pay less than cost of providing service. We oppose this bill, and this bill died this legislative session.

HB1357 Modernizing the prior authorization process. Passed.  Provides electric authorization standards and communication standards requirements and it streamlines and modernizes prior authorizations so it will be good for our profession. It begins January 1, 2024.

Also a reminder that included in you licensure fees, you pay $16 a year towards the HEAL-WA program. You can sign into the program with email address and provider number to have great access to evidence base data and articles for massage profession.

Department of Health, Board of Massage is looking for a new public member which could be very beneficial to have a full board of massage.

We are watching the new CR101 filed that will address Licensing by endorsement for out of state applicants. On March 10, 2023, the Board of Massage in conjunction with the Department of Health filed a CR-101 as WSR #23-07-064 (PDF) with the Office of the Code Reviser proposing to consider amendments to WAC 246-830-035 Licensing by endorsement for out-of-state applicants.  

Health Equity Training: RCW 43.70.613 Requirements begin January 1, 2024 the minimum baseline requirement for all profession with continuing education must take 2 hours of Health Equity Training every 4 years on issues such as recognizing health care disparities, ensuring equity, complicit bias trainings, and more. The WA State Board of Massage is proposing 4 hours every two years which is 8 hours every four years compared to the 2 hours every four years which is the baseline. We are proposing that they change it to two hours of Health Equity every two years, instead of two hours every four years as we do our continuing education every two years, so having something required every two years makes more sense than every four years, just not four hours every two years.

Leslie: We have submitted comments to the Board of Massage regarding concerns about this.

Future Work for Government Relations

Apple Health non-pharmacological report to the legislature which does include massage as one of the things they were working on. One of the problems the profession is faced with is that there is not a lot of high-quality evidence at the time about cost effectiveness. One of the reasons we are really concerned about cost effectiveness is compared to other profession, they say it will cost 26.9 million stand alone for massage therapy. We will have to do a good job at showing how cost effective and how it can potentially save the state money.

Diana: All of us can talk about getting patients off pain medications with massage. It does takes more than one massage to do it and that’s where the cost comes in. We have good evidence on efficacy, we just don’t have a lot of evidence on cost effectiveness. I think we just need a team to work on this. Coming from the Massage Therapy Foundation as a former Board member, there is money available to ask for a grant to get a group together to work on this. This is going to happen to other states. This is an important issue we should be a part of not just chiropractors and acupuncturist. Massage Therapists are more in demand than either of those two things for pain and we need to rise to this occasion, any help anyone can offer will be great.

Leslie: This project will probably take a couple of years to work on and we have got to do our homework before taking this before we go to the legislature. I invite everybody to get involved and join the government relations committee. It is important to have conversations and craft some of the policies that come up so when bills come up, we can make determinations on support or oppose, amend or make recommendations to the Board of Massage especially on important or more controversial topics. I encourage you to watch for alerts during legislative sessions and please do sign in on legislations pro or con that impact Massage Therapy. It makes a difference on whether we have a large turnout from massage profession. You can also participate in the rule making process with Department of Health, it’s another great way to impact the system.

“What you do makes a difference, you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~Jane Goodall

Volunteer and Awards presented by Volunteer Coordinator Allison Hanelt

Thank you for being here today, showing gratitude is an important part of recognizing the people who help us in our lives and in this organization. It is my pleasure to speak to you about the people whom have gone above and beyond.

2023 Outstanding Volunteer Award, Tyghe Armstrong

2023 Outstanding Massage Instructor Award, Nancy Haller

2023 Local Leader in Massage Community, Joe Lavin

2023 Service to the Chapter, Julie Onofrio

2023 Service to the Profession, Gail McGaffick

2023 Presidents Award, Diana Thompson

Summer Announced 2023 Meritorious Award Recipient, Allison Hanelt

Financial Administrator’s Report Presented by Financial Administrator LoAn Nguyen

A brief summary of the chapter’s budget for 22/23 compared to year end actuals of revenues and expenses. Actual annual meeting and education event income was significantly lower than budgeted and fewer people attended conference than projected. The chapter is investing in education for the members which aligns with and supports the AMTA mission and purpose of the chapter.

FY 23/24 Budget expenses includes education events, expenses for volunteers to attend national trainings and networking events. Chapter will continue with government relations legislative efforts and budgeted for lobbyist fees.

Chapter has planned and budgeted for events in 2023, however, will be doing less to recover from spending on education event in 2022. Chapter has budgeted greater expenses than income this fiscal year, will monitor cash flow to make sure there is sufficient funds to cover expenses.

Online Election Results Presented by President Summer Meyer

Julie Onofrio was elected to a 2-year term as chapter Board member

Financial Administration: Vacant (Please Inquire president@amta-wa.org or allison@amta-wa.org  if you are interested in being appointed this position and meet the requirements)

Secretary: LoAn Nguyen *

Delegate: Scott Lesieur

Delegate: Gary Schwander *

Chapter Board 23/24

President: Summer Meyer

Board Member: Linda Bucher

Board Member: Julie Onofrio

Financial Administration: Vacant (Please Inquire president@amta-wa.org or allison@amta-wa.org  if you are interested in being appointed this position and meet the requirements)

Secretary: LoAn Nguyen *

Delegate: Scott Lesieur

Delegate: Gary Schwander*  

*1 year term

See also: Past AMTA-WA Chapter Awards