California's Massage Regulation Fiasco
The following facts explain what consumers, employers and MTs should know about the CAMTC, the Massage Therapy Act, and what needs to happen to stop this corrupt regulatory scheme from destroying more lives.
The MTA does this by authorizing the CAMTC to bypass our courts using their own private tribunal, the Professional Standards Division (PSD), to revoke or suspend certifications at will, without any oversight to prevent them from abusing their discretion. I’ll address the significance of this later in this article.
However, incredibly, our State Legislators approved the MTA despite it only requiring the PSD to observe the lowest standard of proof, called "Preponderance of Evidence,” regardless of the severity of the claim made against a certificate holder. The significance of this will be explored below.
“The CAMTC reported in its 2015 Sunset Review Report that it's hearing process works very well and is cost effective. …Before sending a proposed denial or proposed revocation or discipline letter, the CAMTC makes sure that there is sufficient evidence to take action against the individual. This results in a very high number of proposed denials and proposed certificate holder disciplines being upheld…”
Did you catch that? Their statement reveals that, when they send a letter “proposing” to discipline you, they’ve already decided to do it based on the claimant's statement alone, before getting the defendant's statement. They ignore the defendant’s testimony, supporting character statements and evidence regardless of how overwhelmingly they vindicate the defendant. They also ignore how discreditable the claimant is. The decision has already been made. Anyone who’s received a letter from the PSD has seen the unambiguous language stating claims as fact instead of in terms of the allegations they are. The hearing they offer is nothing more than a formality of pretense that serves no apparent purpose than an excuse for unnecessary lawyers soaking the CAMTC -who apparently are too ignorant to know better.
In the scientific community, fudging numbers like this is considered fraud and has serious financial and career consequences. To put this in perspective:
“…papers retracted due to misconduct accounted for approximately $58 million in direct funding by the NIH between 1992 and 2012…” and “Researchers experienced a median 91.8% decrease in publication output and large declines in funding after censure by the ORI.” How did CA Legislators miss this obvious and gross misconduct? More concerning is, if they caught it, why have they allowed this miscarriage of Justice to continue destroying innocent lives?
There are only a handful of liability insurance providers that cover such claims, but their policies begin at $500 per year, so most MTs choose other plans to save money. The problem is, most MTs are completely unaware of the risks of working in CA until it’s too late.
“Local governments shall impose and enforce only reasonable and necessary fees and regulations on massage businesses and massage establishments, in keeping with the requirements of existing law and being mindful of the need to protect legitimate business owners and massage professionals, particularly sole providers.”
In her report to the Board of Directors, CAMTC Director of Governmental Affairs, Beverly May, stated on page 50:
“There are approximately 190 cities and counties that require certification at this point. At least 13 others … are in some stage of preparing a new ordinance, and the intent of each at this point is to require certification. …It will take some political push to move the process.”
Unfortunately, it appears neither the CAMTC nor our State representatives have shown any interest in protecting MTs from cities and employers exploiting this loophole to prevent MTs from working therein.
CA Legislation never should have suspended the Constitutional Rights of citizens to begin with, but BlueSky’s report illustrates that the Massage Therapy Act has proven to be an absolute fiasco and boondoggle.
All of this results in MTs risking the loss of their livelihood on nothing more than the whim of unethical people. And few MTs, if any, have the resources to survive the loss of their career, much less to afford to earn a college, or get vocational training, to effectively compete for a viable job in a new career.
From 2015 to 2016’s first quarter, 117 certificates were revoked, 1 was suspended for 1 year and 3 were suspended for 6 months. That’s 121 lives in 1.25 years that were seriously disrupted and most likely destroyed with nothing more than a written declaration made against them. The CAMTC has been doing this since September 2009, so the number of lives they maliciously destroyed for personal gain over the last 7.75 years is close to 750.
While we don’t know yet how many of those individuals were actually guilty of harming massage consumers, considering the available evidence, the number of innocent lives destroyed must be substantial. And those don’t include the 643 careers that were denied from even starting during the same period.
Those numbers may not seem high to politicians and economists, but if you think of it like permanently holding back entire high school senior classes from graduating from multiple high schools in your city, I’m sure you’d be outraged.
Beverly May reported at the CAMTC Board of Directors meeting June 8, 2017 that it takes about 75 days for certificates to be issued after applications are received. But the reality is May is grossly misleading, because it takes 6 – 12 months according to the majority of MTs who have spoken up in social media. Even 2.5 months (75 days) is an excessive wait for applicants who need to get hired immediately after completing their education so they can keep the lights on.
Making disciplinary decisions based on court rulings would not only assure MTs their Constitutional rights and fair trials. It would also free up the most significant -and unnecessary- expense the CAMTC has, and enable them to process applications within a reasonable amount of time so would-be Massage Therapists can start their careers instead of fall through the cracks.
A CAMTC Board of Directors meeting revealed:
• New Applications are below budget requirements.• January 2017 revenue was 7.5% lower than in 2016.• Expenses were up 23.2%.• January saw a net loss of $25,009 vs. $86,721 net gain in 2016.
A 7.5% decrease in revenue with a 23.2% increase in expenses is actually a 30.7% loss. If this continues, it won’t be long before their emergency funds evaporate and they have to shut down.
One would think the CAMTC would be motivated to adopt this proposed procedural change given they desperately need to revise their unsustainable business model. But the League of Cities lobbied hard and pressured the CAMTC to create their current process to make it easier for local law enforcement to suppress prostitution and human trafficking related to illicit massage fronts. Since this change would subvert the primary purpose of the Massage Therapy Act, it puts the CAMTC in a very difficult position.
But, as mentioned earlier, Blue Sky Consulting found the primary purpose of the MTA has been failed, and this scheme is ultimately ineffective in fulfilling its purpose. So, there’s no legitimate reason for the League of Cities to continue pressuring things to continue as they have, and the CAMTC Board would not only ensure their survival but profoundly improve matters for legitimate MTs.
Since the CAMTC has refused to change this one simple procedure despite their best interests, and CA legislators continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of MTs, it falls upon MTs to share this article and get enough signatures for the petition below to compel CA legislators to back amending the MTA.
2) Share this article with your colleagues, City, County and State Representatives, and everyone you know who values quality, ethical Massage Therapists,
3) Pressure the CAMTC Board of Directors to implement this proposal,
4) Pressure your City/County to repeal ordinances requiring CAMTC certification,
5) Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/groups/ReformCAMTC