The nation’s largest massage-membership organization, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, issued an alert on April 8 regarding new legislation introduced in Illinois, and encourages massage therapists to act now to prevent the bill from passing:

Illinois Legislative Update

Last week the Illinois Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 318 (SB318), which now moves into the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration. As you recall, SB 318, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein, would amend the Medical Practice Act to allow any person licensed under it (physicians, chiropractors) to delegate tasks or duties to licensed or unlicensed personnel as long as those duties fall within the scope of practice for the physician or chiropractor. If passed, SB 318 would circumvent the Massage Licensing Act and allow the unlicensed practice of massage therapy and other allied health professions. It’s safe to assume that chiropractors would have a bigger potential impact on the massage therapy profession than physicians.

The Illinois House of Representatives is currently on break and legislators can be found in their home districts. ABMP encourages you to call or visit your representative’s district office and ask them to vote no on SB 318. You may use the following talking points:

• SB 318 is an unbridled expansion of the Medical Practice Act to allow chiropractors to delegate tasks or duties to an unlicensed person, even those activities that are currently deemed by Illinois statute to require a license. SB 318 does not require supervision of unlicensed employees, does not restrict their activities to the chiropractor’s office, and does not limit the extent to which an unlicensed person may do licensed activities. Unlicensed employees will be able to perform licensed activities without any restrictions.

• SB 318 circumvents the Massage Licensing Act and will promote the unlicensed practice of massage therapy. The Illinois Chiropractic Society has stated specifically that massage is one of the tasks that they want chiropractors to delegate. There are nearly 8,000 licensed Massage Therapists in Illinois in virtually every county of the state. There is clearly no shortage of qualified licensed Massage Therapists to meet this need.

• SB 318 will increase the opportunity for hazardous practice and impact public safety. Untrained employees will be allowed to provide direct patient care to patients with medical conditions.

• The Massage Therapy Licensing Act requires licensees to be fingerprinted as part of the license application process. This is required to help protect the public from sexual predators and other people with a history of sexual violations. SB 318 will not afford the public these protections.

We encourage you to forward this e-mail to massage therapists, clients, family members, friends or any other healthcare consumer to contact their representatives and ask them to oppose SB 318. This action will have more of an impact if accomplished by April 21, 2009.

We are keeping track of conversations being held with legislators regarding this issue. Please relay any information that you can gather from your discussions with your representative to jean@abmp.com.

To find out who your legislator is, go to:
http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1

—Source: Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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