Overland Park, Kansas, (March 1, 2012): In March 2011, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) announced the launch of a project to develop a new national program to provide state regulatory agencies with a centralized quality assurance process for the renewal of State licensure or State certification. As part of this process, the FSMTB convened a task force representing State regulatory boards and agencies, educators and massage therapists.

In January 2012, the FSMTB board of directors accepted the task force recommendations for the Maintenance of Core Competence (MOCC) Program, summarized as follows:

The regulatory community should maintain the mission focus on public protection. The best way to ensure public protection is to focus on the regulatory cornerstone of addressing core competencies for safe and professional practice. The regulation of requirements for Continuing Education (CE) that addresses content beyond entry level requirements for professional enhancement should move to specifically focus on the Maintenance of Core Competence (MOCC) which more directly addresses protection of the public. Guidelines will be provided by the FSMTB to assist in the transition phase of moving from broad continuing education requirements to maintenance of core competence.

Addressing regulatory needs and areas identified as requiring regulatory intervention and guidance, the FSMTB is in a unique position to provide education on behalf of member boards. FSMTB will provide a no-fail educational component in the form of maintenance of competence modules with assessment that will be taken at the learner’s own pace. Hourly requirements would move to competency requirements. Course content will be specifically established by the regulatory community and enhanced by entities such as law enforcement, insurance companies, federal agencies, and other stakeholders in the profession. Public safety data and disciplinary information would be directly relevant to the State massage and bodywork regulatory community.

The Task force acknowledges a great need to enhance and elevate the profession and poses that this is the primary role of membership organizations and voluntary certification programs.

Kathy Jensen, FSMTB president states, “The FSMTB Board of Directors sincerely thanks the task force members for their diligent efforts in formulating these recommendations. This will help us lead with thoughtful, intentional action based on knowledge and strategic deployment of services to our member boards and agencies. It will significantly reduce the mandatory educational financial burden on the individual professionals while at the same time assure public protection with safe and knowledgeable practice.”

The FSMTB was formed to support the mission of our member boards of protecting the public. The task force recommendations exemplify and reinforce the core values and commitments of the FSMTB with regard to public protection. Karen Armstrong, FSMTB task force chair notes, “This proposal facilitates simplification and standardization of the regulatory process to address broader portability goals. It invites a bold shift in the traditionally accepted approach by envisioning a new direction and shaping a strategy for the future of continued professional competence.”

It is important to the FSMTB that all interested parties have a voice in the process. A detailed document entitled Proposal for Maintenance of Core Competency Program is available for public comment through April 30, 2012 on the FSMTB website.

Task Force Participants

FSMTB Task Force Chair – Karen Armstrong, Chair – Michigan Board of Massage Therapy

FSMTB member – Marcela Collins, Chair – Tennessee Massage Licensure Board

FSMTB member – Ahmos Netanel, Executive Director – California Massage Therapy Council

FSMTB member – Richard Whitehouse, Executive Director – State Medical Board of Ohio

ABMP representative – Anne Williams, Director of Education – Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

AMTA representative – Glenath Moyle, President – American Massage Therapy Association

AFMTE representative – Pete Whitridge, President – Alliance for Massage Therapy Education

AFMTE representative – Cherie Sohnen-Moe, Director – Alliance for Massage Therapy Education