Governor DeWine re-opened massage therapy effective May 15, consistent with the re-opening date for haircare/cosmetology services, as AMTA Ohio requested. AMTA leadership and lobbyists were intimately involved with the State Medical Board in drafting the massage therapy re-opening protocols, and we very much appreciated the Board staff hearing our concerns and re-working earlier drafts to reflect our input. The Board’s FAQ document for massage therapy also reflected our suggestions for questions and issues needing clarification beyond the re-opening protocols. If you believe there are additional items that should be addressed, please let us know!
State Medical Board of Ohio Massage Therapy Task Force 6/15/20
We look forward to continuing our very productive dialogue with the State Medical Board staff in a more regular and formal way, and have advocated for a permanent Board Massage Therapy Task Force. Board Executive Director Stephanie Loucka has expressed support for this effort, which will require legislative approval. AMTA lobbyists are working to find an appropriate “legislative vehicle” for language authorizing the Task Force and hope to be able to do so by year-end.
Liability Legislation 6/15/20
AMTA Ohio joined a broad coalition of business and healthcare groups to actively supported bills to minimize liability due to alleged COVID-19 exposure. HB 606 and SB 308 passed the House and Senate, respectively, just last week but neither bill passed in the other chamber as required to become law. However, AMTA was successful in getting language included in both bills that includes licensed massage therapists alongside doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals regarding healthcare professional liability. Although the Senate has legislative session dates scheduled next week, it does not appear likely that the House v. Senate differences can be resolved since the House will not be in session for a summer break. Although we are disappointed that we and other healthcare professionals will not be afforded the heighted liability protection, it was terrific that both the House and Senate recognized licensed massage therapy as a medical profession.
Licensing Legislation 6/15/20
House Bill 374 and Senate Bill 105 reflect AMTA’s long-time mission to shut down unlicensed, unregulated massage in Ohio. SB 105 has had two hearings in the Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee, including proponent testimony from me on behalf of AMTA. Eleven other supporters also testified, along with five other (“interested party” and opponent) witnesses. HB 374 has had only one hearing in the House Commerce & Labor Committee, but according to AMTA lobbyists is better positioned for near-term progress. AMTA lobbyists have had multiple positive meetings with Committee Chairwoman Gayle Manning, and just last week met with joint sponsor Rep. Susan Manchester who expressed a desire to get the bill moving. As with everything else, COVID-19 caused a halt to most legislative activities earlier this year. The past few weeks the Ohio General Assembly processed a number of critical budget and other “must do” (i.e., school re-opening) bills before taking a regular summer break. We hope our legislative efforts get back on track as soon as the legislature resumes a regular schedule, probably this fall.
It should be noted that the closure and re-opening of massage therapy due to COVID-19 exposed the inherent flaws in Ohio’s current licensing law, which have now become more apparent to various policymakers. The original shut-down order issued by the Ohio Dept. of Health on March 19 used the phrase “licensed massage therapist services and relaxation massages that occur in spas.” Under Ohio law, there are no definitions of “relaxation massages” or “spas.” The re-opening order issued by ODH on May 14 used the more precise and appropriate language “[m]assage therapy … locations that employ individuals licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board….” In their discussions over the re-opening orders our lobbyists pointed out the inconsistent, incomplete, and ambiguous nature of Ohio’s current massage therapy licensure laws, and believe those points have been well taken by ODH staff that had not previously focused on this issue. Hopefully this will help us get the legislation enacted!
The Ohio AMTA continues to push legislative reform to help LMT’s in Ohio. By including Massage Therapists in House Bill 606, and Senate Bill 308, they will be protected along with other medical professionals against Covid 19 lawsuits.
Click on the links below to see each of the bills. (Updated 5/20/20)
Click the link above for a PDF of the Businesses that are to stay closed during the re-opening of Ohio’s businesses
Stay at Home!
Useful Links Related to the Ohio COVID19 Response
Governor DeWine Executive Orders
- 04/01/20 Executive Order 2020-08DCommercial Evictions and Foreclosures
- 03/31/20 Public Water Systems Under ORC Chapter 6109(Ohio EPA)
- 03/19/20 Executive Order 2020-05DTelehealth
- 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-04DTemporary Pandemic Child Care
- 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-03DUnemployment
- 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-02D Emergency Amendment Rule
- 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-01D Declaring a State of Emergency
Department of Health/Dr. Acton Orders
03/22/20 Order to Stay at Home
Government Response Websites
Industry/Individual Response Websites
Employers with questions e-mail: UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov
Federal CARES Act Programs