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Editorial: Bill to end massage therapy board is bad

From the Register-Herald of Beckley:

West Virginia lawmakers introduced SB 196 that would remove the licensed massage therapist board. This bill is aimed at being an underhanded attempt to removing medical massage from PEIA, as PEIA requires a licensed therapist to perform these sessions.

What they do not realize is this will destroy businesses, forcing LMTs to move elsewhere, along with our tax dollars. We will no longer be able to bill any insurance without a license, and force patients who use medical massage to control pain back into the fears of having to use stronger narcotic pain meds, potentially increasing addiction.

This bill also endangers the public. Anyone who has lost their license due to misconduct will now be back in business, not to mention sexual predators no longer being screened out by the licensing and educational process.

As a massage therapist, and as a health care provider, this bill troubles not only myself, but the hundreds of LMTs here, and our numerous patients. Patients, we need you speaking out against this bill before it forces more of us out of jobs, and you having one less resource for pain management.

It takes one to two years to learn the amount of anatomy and pathology, not to mention techniques, to practice massage. My first year after graduating alone, I saw dozens of patients symptomatic for blood clots; while we can’t diagnose, I knew not to massage and asked them to seek a doctor. Had I massaged their legs, it would have been tragic! Without our boards, make no mistake, this endangers the public.

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