I am blogging today to provide an update on the 2 bills in the Massachusetts legislature that affect clients and practitioners of complementary care. What happens with these two bills is very important to anyone who depends upon complementary care – and that means any wellness practice that is not currently licensed (yoga, tai chi, reiki, homeopathy, shiatsu, reflexology, health coaching, shamanic practice, etc.). If we are not able to put into law common-sense provisions protecting MA citizens’ right to choose, clients and students could find themselves cut off from the practices that benefit them.
The first bill is S168, a bill to license “bodyworkers” which would affect most practitioners of complementary care and wellness methods. This bill is very strict and is not well-fitted to our current system of apprenticeship-style training. It would result in many practitioners going out of business and higher costs for consumers.
The second bill is S665/H3660, which gives MA consumers the right to choose complementary methods. This bill was developed by a group of practitioners, modeled after similar laws passed in a number of states. It proposes common-sense guidelines in order to protect clients, while also ensuring the free practice of non-harming complementary methods in our state.
Both of these bills are currently in committee. The licensure bill, S168, was heard by the Joint Committee on Professional Licensure on Monday, October 28. I am pleased to report that we had a wonderful showing of practitioners and clients at the hearing. Legislators seemed genuinely interested in our point of view, and had clearly been impacted by the many emails and phone calls they received from clients and practitioners.
The sponsors of S168 are currently making revisions. We are hoping to defeat this bill completely, because we doubt that revisions will be substantial enough to avoid damage to complementary care in MA. In order to do this, we need to stay involved. I will do my best to keep you up to date. However, if you wish to become more active regarding this bill, you can send email to Rita Glassman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the revisions have been proposed, we will enter into another phase of action regarding this bill.
Meanwhile, the Safe Harbor Bill, S665/H3660, will be heard in the Public Health Committee on November 19. We are hoping to get this bill passed through committee in its current form. Although we have substantial support from legislators, we also need to continue to make our voices heard. Below I have included information from HFAMA. (Please forgive the format of the embedded info – my technological skills are rudimentary!)
I encourage you to attend the November 19 hearing if you can, and if you can’t, to send email to the committee members, either through HFAMA’s convenient on-line form, or on your own. I will keep you updated as best I can, but I also encourage you to sign up to HFAMA’s email list to receive timely information.
If you have questions regarding these bills, feel free to contact me. (The best way to do that is to use the contact form available on this website.) I am happy to respond as best I can or refer you to others who are more knowledgeable.
Also please spread the word. It is important to realize that not only practitioners will be affected by what happens in regards to these bills. Our advocacy over the next few months will have a long-term effect on MA citizens’ access to affordable complementary care.
Thanks for your attention and your action,