Government Relations

Tax Bill HF 884

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Our Government Relations Team and Lobbyist, Maureen O’Connell, is working with the author ( Representative Tina Liebling) and we have requested changes to the language, that defined massage therapy and the removal of a section, that defined the variety of products and services that are used in the profession. This amendment was presented and was partially granted.Earlier, this month, we alerted you to a hearing at the Capitol, introducing Tax Bill HF 884; that is intended to exempt certain massage therapy from sales taxation and impose the health care provider tax on certain massage therapy services.  By registering with the Department of Revenue certain massage therapist’s services could be subject to the lower 2% health care provider tax.  In order for the Department of Revenue to determine who is a massage therapist the bill contains definitions of “massage therapist” and “massage therapy services.” These definitions are new since the scope of practice for massage therapy is not defined anywhere else in Minnesota Statute.

The House Tax Committee moved the bill into a holding status until Tax Committee Chair Greg Davids , decides which tax bills will be included in the omnibus tax bill.

We feel it is important to include our membership in on our decisions, especially ones that affect all Massage Therapists, within the state of Minnesota.  We have highlighted a few Pro’s and Con’s for this Bill and openly encourage you to share with us your thoughts.

Pro’s of this Bill:

  • Lower tax being applied to massage therapy services and potential simplification of the collection of taxes for massage therapy.
  • Massage Therapy gets recognized as a healthcare profession.

Con’s of this Bill:

  • The tax commissioner has no guidelines to determine the qualifications of an individual registering as a massage therapist. An individual can simply assert on an application that they are a massage therapist. For example, he/she will not have to demonstrate that he/she has completed any education requirements or proven competency, in the form an exam or other.
  • There seems to be contradictory language in that massage is listed under “patient services” and “sales and purchase” tax codes yet there is no clearly defined path to one or the other.

Attached is the Department of Revenue fact sheet:           http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/businesses/sut/factsheets/FS162.pdf

We would encourage you all to carefully read Tax Bill HF 884,

Please, feel free to share your opinions and comments on HF 884 with us, by emailing AMTA – MN Government Relations Committee at mnmbtgrc@gmail.com.


HF2389 Alternative Pain Management Pilot Program
INCLUDES Massage Therapists from Work Group

HF 2389 was introduced by Representative Glen Greunhagen18B, in March 2018. This bill was originally introduced by the Minnesota Acupuncture Association  and did not include any other professions. However, at the end of last week, an amendment was added, to include massage therapy and other services.

HF 2389 is calling for an alternative pain management pilot program, in which “the commissioner of human services shall develop and implement a pilot program to direct patients towards effective non pharmacologic treatments and methods of managing musculoskeleton pain. The commissioner may consider the following nonpharmacologic treatment options: acupuncture; chiropractic; osteopathic manipulative treatment; massage; physical therapy; yoga, taiji, and other movement therapies; meditation; relaxation therapy; and cognitive behavioral therapy,”

“The commissioner shall form a working group comprised of an equal number of the following health care practitioners: acupuncture practitioners licensed under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 147B; chiropractors licensed under Minnesota Statutes, section 148.06:physical therapists licensed under Minnesota Statutes, section 148.705; and psychologists licensed under Minnesota Statutes, section 148.907. The working group shall establish guidelines for non pharmacologic pain management that are clinically viable, sustainable and reduce and eliminate pain conditions. The program guidelines must be based on best practices for the effective treatment of musculoskeletal pain for each licensed profession.  Each represented licensee present the minimum best integrative practice guidelines, including, but not limited to, CPT codes and references to non pharmacological treatment options for eliminating pain within their full professional scope. The working group shall determine a single integrative reimbursement rate appropriate for all participating providers.”

The American Massage Therapy Association applause’s their effort to form the pain management pilot program and their attempt to create an environment that fosters comprehensive nonpharmacologic therapies and treatments over pills, when and where applicable. As you know, Massage Therapy is a well-accepted nonpharmacological therapy for managing pain, including a variety of specific chronic pain issues. It should be an important element of governmental guidelines for helping to mitigate the overuse of opioids, as it already is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and included in nonpharmacological pain guidelines issued by The Joint Commission, as well as the American College of Physicians (ACP).

The AMTA has made the recommendation, that a massage therapist be represented as part of the working group. We understand that those that are listed in subsection (b), of HF 2389 , are licensed in the state of Minnesota and, at this time, massage therapists are not. Minnesota is one of four states that does not have massage therapy regulations in place; a separate issue that we have been working toward for over 25 years. This does not change the fact, that massage therapists, from all over the country are working in growing numbers, in integrative health systems. You will find them in our own back yard, at the Mayo Clinics Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, for which AMTA has frequent interactions and collaborative efforts with. Additionally, the absence of regulation should not exclude the practice of massage therapy from having a voice in this group given that (1) massage therapy is one of the most recommended treatments for nonpharmacologic approaches to pain management and (2) HF 2389 explicitly makes the recommendation to the commissioner to consider massage therapy as one of the treatment options.

Our Government Relations Team and Lobbyist, Maureen O’Connell, are working with the author (Representative Glenn Gruenhagen) and others supporting this bill. We were able to add an amendment, this week, which adds a Massage Therapist to the work group.

We feel it is important to include our membership in on our decisions, especially ones that affect all Massage Therapists, within the state of Minnesota.. We have representatives supporting us at the capitol and we will let you know how the future hearing progresses, as well as, the next steps in assuring our voice is heard.

We would encourage you all to carefully read HF 2389 and stay involved.

Please, feel free to share your opinions and comments on HF 2389 with us, by emailing, AMTA – MN Government Relations Committee at mnmbtgrc@gmail.com

The Government relations team for AMTA-MN is working on behalf of the massage community in Minnesota in several areas.
 Bill drafting – There are many stakeholders in the massage community that want
massage regulation and bringing a bill forth that satisfies all of these groups needs
careful attention. We have been working respectfully, with all stakeholders and
when we feel, we have reached a mutual agreement, between all parties, we will
introduce a bill.
grassroot Grass Roots organizing – Industry wide we estimate that there are 5000+
practitioners in Minnesota. It is critical that we support legislation with a unified
voice. Connecting the individuals to information and timely communication strategy
is our on-going ground work. We especially need YOU to be responsive when
contacted to take action.
 Monitoring at the Capitol – We keep an eye on activities at the legislature that
impact the massage profession. Most of the time this means our lobbyist is speaking
with law makers and their staff to get clarification or express our concern about
changes in the law.

 


AMTA – MN Seeking Licensure From Lawmakers – Not Voluntary Registration

In 2017, the American Massage Therapy Association – Minnesota chapter and a coalition of organizations introduced legislation which called for voluntary registration of massage and bodywork therapists. This past effort hoped to get massage and bodywork therapists to place their name on a registry to protect their title.

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After careful review of this past effort, as well as, a survey of massage and bodywork therapists, in Minnesota, it has been determined that full licensure of massage and bodywork therapists better protects the public and provides a more consistent and superior form of regulation. The licensure bill is in the final stages of drafting and review. This licensure bill will bring Minnesota massage and bodywork therapists into the same regulatory structure of our neighboring states, as well as, 46 other states.

 

4 Reasons State Licensure for Massage Therapy is a MUST:

  1. Massage therapy is a legitimate professional career. When we pass statewide registration it allows for the 0_0_0_0_250_170_csupload_66800140.jpgpractice of massage therapy to be seen as what it is: a professional allied health practice.
  2. Reduction of sex trafficking and sex crimes that hide using the term “massage” as their practice will be shut down and exposed.
  3. Visibility and easier access for the people of Minnesota to be able to find and locate a professional massage therapist gives us more choice, power and safety as consumers.
  4. Minnesota is one of the top states in the health care industry and we need to demonstrate an example for others to follow by being in compliance with safety laws to keep our practices up-to-date and current.

legislation

The Government Relations committee of the American Massage Therapy Association – Minnesota Chapter has been working very hard on a plan to introduce legislation for licensing massage therapists in the state of Minnesota. The first part of that plan is to refine the bill by drafting changes to address the concerns of all of the various interest groups both within our community and those outside of our community who have a stake in this effort.  We have been distributing bill drafts to these various groups since February and asking for comments, redrafting and sending out new versions.  Once we have a version that looks like it is getting close to a final version, we will be sending it to the full membership and posting it on our website.
In addition to refining the bill, we are working hard to put together our grass roots communication plan for how best to keep you fully informed as the bill is introduced and progresses through the process as well as helping you to get involved in advocating for the legislation with your House and Senate members.   As you know, the bill will not be able to pass unless legislators hear from you.  If you wish to be involved in helping with our grass roots activism on this issue, please contact Susan Tietjen at  mnmbtgrc@gmail.com.  

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