Connecticut massage therapy legislation improved

New and improved Connecticut massage therapy legislation has arrived.

Our Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen did some work for a client drafting legislative language and commenting on a variety of existing massage therapy regulations. The new and improved legislation follows.


Connecticut : 2007 Legislative Report

SB140: AN ACT CONCERNING MASSAGE THERAPY. Passed. Public Act 7-35. Governor Signed on May 22, 2007

This bill was originally introduced Sen. Duff and and co-sponsored by Sen. Doyle, (D-Wethersfield), Rep. Morris (D-Norwalk), and Rep. Boucher (R-Wilton). It (1) replaces the title "Connecticut licensed massage therapist" with "massage therapist" and (2) prohibits anyone other than a licensed massage therapist or a holder of another applicable license from using the titles "massage therapist," "licensed message therapist," "massage practitioner," "massagist," "masseur," or "masseuse. " The bill also prohibits advertising any of the services that comprise massage therapy in any manner using the term "massage," unless the services are to be provided by a licensed massage therapist. It specifies that "advertising" includes: giving a card, sign, or device to anyone; causing or allowing a sign or marking on a vehicle, building, or other structure; advertising in a newspaper or magazine; and placing a listing or advertisement in a directory under a heading or classification that includes the words "massage," "massage therapist," "massage therapy," or "massage therapy establishment. " It requires licensed massage therapists to include their license number in advertisements in newspapers, telephone directories, or other media. It prohibits people who are not licensed massage therapists from advertising massage therapy services in either a public or private publication or communication by using "massage" or any term that implies a massage service activity.
The bill was started out in the Public Health Committee which voted for a change of reference to the General Law Committee, where a public hearing was held. Testifying in support or submitting written testimony in support of the bill were Stephen Kitts, Executive Director, Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy; Linda Derrick, Director of Education, Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy; Scott Raymond LMT, American Massage Therapy Association- Connecticut Chapter (CT-AMTA); Sen. Duff (D-Norwalk); Bridget Healy; Deby Van Ohlen, LMT and Wendy Payton, LMT, owners of Nurturing Hands; and Lee Stang LMT, President, Connecticut Chapter, American Massage Therapy Association (CT-AMTA).
Jennifer Filippone, Department of Public Health (DPH) submitted written testimony which stated "The Department wants to continue discussion on language to clarify existing provisions with no fiscal impact on DPH."

The General Law Committee voted to draft the bill and ultimately voted favorably on the bill in Committee with a unanimous vote. Betty Gallo & Company spoke with each member of the General Law Committee in addition to Sen. Colapietro and Rep. Stone to ensure passage of the bill. Rep. Stone stated that he had concerns, but his comments were vague. The bill as it passed out of committee was unsatisfactorily vague, because it simply included this phrase "No person shall use the title "Connecticut licensed massage therapist" or "massage therapist" unless the person holds a license issued in accordance with this section." - with the only change in existing statute underlined.
An appointment was made with Senator Handley, Chair of the Public Health Committee and Senator Duff to discuss changes that would strengthen the protections for licensed massage therapists in the bill. Sen. Handley was unable to attend the meeting, but her Legislative Aide, Andy Woodcock was sympathetic. Sen. Duff agreed that he would work on an amendment that would be call when the bill came up for a vote in the Senate.

Betty Gallo & Company circulated copies of the proposed amendment to CCMT and worked with Sen. Duff, Rep. Hennessy and the Legislative Commissioners Office to achieved a finished product.
Senator Duff contacted Rep. Bob Godfrey, Deputy Speaker of the House to co-sponsor the amendment.
Once the amendment was filed, the Department of Public Health contacted Sen. Duff and Betty Gallo & Company with concerns about their obligations to investigate complaints in the bill. The Department attempted to block the bill in the Senate.

Sen. Duff (D-Norwalk) offered Senate Amendment "A" that replaces the original bill, which did not (1) reserve the titles "massage practitioner," "massagist," "masseur," and "masseuse"; (2) reserve the use of the words "massage," "massage therapy," and "massage therapy establishment" in advertisements to licensees; or (3) establish advertising prohibitions. The Senate adopted Senate Amendment "A" by voice vote and passed the bill as amended on consent.

The Department of Public Health approached Sen. Duff and Betty Gallo & Company and asked that the bill be amended to reflect that the Department of Public Health would carry out its duties in the bill "within available appropriations".*** The CT Center for Massage Therapy and Sen. Duff were agreeable. The department worked with Rep. Sayers, House Chair of the Public Health Committee to offer the amendment. Because of the way the bill was written, there were difficulties which prohibited the additional language from being attached to the bill. Rep. Sayers brought out the bill on the House Floor without calling the amendment. In her floor speech, she stated for legislative intent that the legislation would be implemented within available appropriations at the Department of Public Health. The House adopted Senate Amendment "A" and passed the bill as amended in concurrence with the Senate by a vote of 139 to 8. The no votes were Rep. Bacchiochi (R-Somers), Rep. Candelora (R-North Branford), Rep. Carson (R-New Fairfield), Rep. Chapin (R-New Milford), Rep. D'Amelio (R-Waterbury), Rep. Greene (R-Beacon Falls), Rep. Miner (R-Litchfield), and Rep. Piscopo (R-Thomaston).

After the bill passed the House, the Department of Public Health drafted suggested language for the Department's technical revisions bill. Betty Gallo & Company, CCMT, and Sen. Duff all signed off on the language.

The Governor signed SB 140 into law on May 22, 2007.

Effective Date: January 1, 2008

Overall, this is long-awaited very good news, creating the means to reclaim the important words and titles of massage and massage therapy for use by licensed massage therapists and restricting those who are not licensed from advertising under our titles, terminology and massage headings.

Public Act No. 07-35


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-206a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2008):

As used in subsection (c) of section 19a-14, [and] sections 20-206a to [20-206c] 20-206f, inclusive, and section 3 of this act:

(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Public Health.

(b) "Department" means the Department of Public Health.

(c) ["Connecticut licensed massage ] " Massage therapist " means a person who has been licensed to practice massage therapy under the provisions of sections 20-206a to [20-206c] 20-206f, inclusive.

(d) " Massage therapy " means the systematic and scientific manipulation and treatment of the soft tissues of the body, by use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means, range of motion and nonspecific stretching. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, ice, hot and cold packs, tub, shower, steam, dry heat, or cabinet baths, for the purpose of, but not limited to, maintaining good health and establishing and maintaining good physical and mental condition. Massage therapy does not encompass diagnosis, the prescribing of drugs or medicines, spinal or other joint manipulations, nor any service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, natureopathy, physical therapy, or podiatry is required by law.

(e) " Massage " shall have the same meaning as " massage therapy ", as defined in subsection (d) of this section.

Sec. 2. Subsection (e) of section 20-206b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2008):

(e) No person shall use the title ["Connecticut licensed massage therapist "] " massage therapist ", "licensed massage therapist ", " massage practitioner", "massagist", "masseur" or " masseuse ", unless the person holds a license issued in accordance with this section or other applicable law.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2008) (a) As used in this section, "advertise" includes, but is not limited to, the issuance of any card, sign or device to any person; causing, permitting or allowing any sign or marking on or in any building, vehicle or structure; advertising in any newspaper or magazine, or the placement of any listing or advertisement in any directory under a classification or heading that includes the words " massage ", " massage therapist ", " massage therapy " or " massage therapy establishment".

(b) No person, firm, partnership or corporation shall advertise any of the services included in the definition of massage therapy in any manner using the term or title " massage ", unless such services are performed by a massage therapist .

(c) Each person who holds a license as a massage therapist shall include his or her license number in any advertisement for such person's massage therapy services that appears in a newspaper, telephone directory or other advertising medium.

(d) It shall be a violation of this section for any person who does not hold a current license as a massage therapist to advertise massage therapy services by using the term " massage ", " massage therapist ", "licensed massage therapist ", " massage practitioner", "massagist", "masseur" or " masseuse."
The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), and Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

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