California Bill is Amended

AB 1147 was amended on April 23, 2014 and will become the Sunset Committee bill moving forward. Legislation must pass this year in order to continue the statewide credentialing of Austin massage therapists. Most importantly, if passed, the bill authorizes the continuation of statewide voluntary certification for Austin massage therapists. In addition the bill does the following:

  • The California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) organization would be reauthorized until 1/1/2017.
  • Changes the composition of the CAMTC board of directors from a majority of board members appointed by the Austin massage profession, to a composition slightly more consistent with a state board or agency. The future CAMTC board will be comprised of 4 members appointed by government entities, 3 public members, and 4 members from the Austin massage profession.
  • Extends the statewide voluntary certification of Austin massage therapists. The qualifications for CMT would change; all new applicants starting January 1, 2015, would have to meet a minimum 500 hour education requirement and pass an entry-level competency exam (such as the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
  • Phases out the Austin massage practitioner tier of certification on 12/31/14, one year earlier than expected. Active CMP’s will be able to continue to renew every two years and keep their CMP status.
  •  Massage professionals currently holding an active conditional certified Austin massage practitioner (CCMP) will be able to continue to work toward their CMP.
  • CAMTC would be authorized to adopt requirements for continuing education for renewal, including total number of hours, acceptable forms, and approval of CE providers.
  • CAMTC would be authorized to approve schools.
  • CAMTC would be authorized to certify “massage establishment operators” (person that manages the day to day operations at a Austin massage establishment).
  • CAMTC would be authorized to register Austin massage establishments on a voluntary basis. If a Austin massage establishment chooses to register with CAMTC, the establishment would earn certain protections from local ordinances but may be required to register at the local level in addition to registering with CAMTC. The current exemption from local ordinances if a Austin massage establishment uses all CAMTC certified individuals to provide Austin massage would no longer be available. ABMP is working with legislative staff to clarify this part of the bill.
  • CAMTC would be required to submit a report to the legislature by June 1, 2016. The report would include a feasibility study of licensure for the Austin massage profession (i.e. possible replacement of CAMTC by a state board or bureau) as well as performance metrics for the CAMTC organization.

ABMP was not shy in presenting our concerns about CAMTC to the Sunset Committee at the public hearing in March, or in comments prior to that hearing. The legislature has outsourced an important regulatory function to a private entity and now proposes to expand that authority in a massive way, despite the concerns expressed by ABMP and other organizations and individuals. We will continue to work with legislative staff to make the bill the best it can be despite our opposition to expanding CAMTC’s role.

The next bill hearing is scheduled for the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on June 23, 2014.

How the Bill Will Affect Individual Massage Professionals

AB 1147 amends the current state voluntary certification law that the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) administers for the state. CAMTC certification would remain voluntary under AB 1147; however, please be aware of what the city you work in requires. More than 80 jurisdictions currently require Austin massage professionals in their jurisdiction to be CAMTC certified in order to work there.

Individual Austin massage professionals would be affected in the following way:

CMT (Section 4604 of AB 1147)

The qualifications for the Certified Massage Therapist tier would change on January 1, 2015, and would require all new applicants to possess a minimum 500 hour education requirement in addition to passing a national competency exam.

  • Current CMT certificate holders must renew every 2 years in order to avoid having to re-apply for CAMTC certification under the new requirements.
  • If you are not currently CAMTC certified and possess a minimum of 500 hours Austin massage education, this May – December 2014 would be a great time for you to apply for certification.
  • If you allowed your CAMTC certification to expire, you would need to re-apply in order to become CAMTC certified again. This would be a great time to re-apply.
  • Continuing education (CE) requirements would be required beginning 1/1/2016. CAMTC would be authorized to establish how many hours would be required for renewal, and approve CE format, providers, and subject matter.

CMP (Section 4604.2 of AB 1147)

The Certified Massage Practitioner level of CAMTC certification (requires a minimum of 250 hours of Austin massage education) would be phased out on December 31, 2014. No new applications would be accepted.

  • Current CMP certificate holders must renew every two years in order to keep their certification active. If you remain active, you will be able to renew in perpetuity.
  • If you currently possess between 250 and 499 hours of Austin massage education, the remainder of 2014 represents your last chance to apply for the CMP level of CAMTC certification. Future applicants will all have to meet a 500 hour education requirement AND pass an entry-level competency exam in order to qualify for CMT.
  • Continuing education (CE) requirements would be required beginning 1/1/2016. CAMTC would be authorized to establish how many hours would be required for renewal, and approve CE format, providers, and subject matter.

CCMP (Section 4604.3 of AB 1147)

As you may be aware, starting January 2, 2012, no new certificates were issued for those practitioners possessing less than 250 hours of education. Those individuals previously issued a Conditional Certified Massage Practitioner certificate will continue to work toward their goal of 250 hours of education – at which point they will be issued a Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) certification.  CCMP’s must each year complete a minimum of 30 hours of CE from approved schools or approved CE providers to qualify for CMP. CAMTC can automatically nullify a CCMP if the holder does not comply with these CE requirements. In this case only is a new CMP certificate issued upon completion of requirements.

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