Bill Would Change Administrative Oversight of Tennessee State Massage Board
Sections 11 and 12 of House Bill 2387 and Senate Bill 2249, if passed, would move the Massage Licensure Board from Tennessee Department of Health to the Tennessee Department of Commerce. On page 5 of the bill, Sections 11 and 12 would relocate Title 63-18, which is the Massage Licensure Act of 1995, from the Department of Health Related Boards (DHRB) to the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI).
The Department of Health Related Boards currently oversees all health professions while the Department of Commerce and Insurance oversees other professional licensing programs such as: electricians, plumbers, and real estate agents.
Massage therapy is a health profession. The current administrative oversight of DHRB has worked since the state first began licensing massage therapists; there is no reason to change what is working. The massage licensure board is self-funded from license fees so the proposed move would not save tax dollars, streamline state government, or reduce duplication of efforts. In fact, a change in administrative oversight would require an application and process shift to conform to a new department. There has been no reason given as to why the sponsors of this bill feel an oversight change is even needed.
Therapeutic massage is a health profession—not a trade—and massage therapists are health care providers. Since 1995, our profession has been striving continually—and successfully—for recognition within the medical community. Many massage therapists now work in healthcare environments, i.e. offices of physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, and dentists. Many are employed in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Furthermore, the massage profession should continue to be regulated within the Health Department in order to best protect the public from unsafe massage therapists.
We, together with the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), Tennessee Massage Therapy Association (TMTA), massage therapists and healthcare professionals statewide, are opposed to this section of HB 2387. We encourage other healthcare professionals, our clients and patients to contact the sponsor of the bill and their representatives to voice opposition to Sections 11 and 12 of HB 2387. Contact them by email or phone or both.
The sponsor of HB 2387 is Representative Gerald McCormick, he can be reached at 615-741-2548 or email@example.com.
The bill has been referred to the Government Operations committee. Rep. Jim Cobb serves as chair, Rep. Barrett Rich is vice-chair, and Rep. Tony Shipley is committee secretary. Committee members also include Representatives Barbara Cooper, Craig Fitzhugh, Steve Hall, Julia Hurley, Mike Kernell, Debra Maggart, Judd Matheny, Gerald McCormick, & Mike Turner. The committee can be reached at 615-741-4866.
The same bill on the Senate side of the General Assembly is SB 2249, sponsored by Senator Norris and Senator Bell.
Senator Mark Norris, firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-741-1967
Senator Mike Bell, email@example.com or 615-741-1946
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