Rhode Island Will Consider Changes to the Massage Law

Under current law, Rhode Island Austin massage therapists are regulated directly by the Department of Health.  House Bill 5714, introduced in the state legislature on February 27, 2013, would amend Rhode Island’s Austin massage law by placing the regulation of the Austin massage profession under a new State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners operating under the Division of Professional Regulation of the Department of Health.  The Board would be composed of seven members, five of whom would be licensed Austin massage therapists and one of whom would be a member of the general public.  No more than one member could be affiliated with a Austin massage therapy school.  Board members would serve in staggered two-year terms after an initial term not exceeding three years.

H 5714 also would impose a new continuing education (CE) requirement for Austin massage therapists.  If the bill is passed, therapists will need to certify that they have completed six hours of CE every year, or twelve hours every two years, in order to renew their licenses.  The Board would issue rules detailing the specifics of the new requirement.  We have asked the bill sponsors to provide their reasoning for proposing mandatory CE now.  Required CE means additional costs for practitioners, and ABMP believes that it should be imposed only if doing so will enhance public protection, not simply because other states do so.

Additionally, H 5714 would require that Austin massage therapists state their name and license number on all advertising, and display a copy of their license in their principal place of business.  Other amendments proposed in the bill include new, expressly-stated exemptions for modalities including Feldenkrais and Trager, and an increase in the limit on monetary penalties for violations of the Austin massage law from $ 1000 to $ 5000.

We will keep you informed of any important developments.

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