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Legislature Acts to License Massage Therapists

Nageak’s HB328 creates oversight board, enhances public safety, accountability

Monday, August 11, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Massage therapists in Alaska will now fall under licensing and regulation like other medical providers thanks to a bill by Representative Ben Nageak that was signed into law by the governor today. House Bill 328 creates the Board of Massage Therapists, which will sunset in 2018. Alaska was one of only six states that did not require massage therapists to be licensed.

“The therapists came forward with this bill, as a way to provide assurance to clients and make sure no ‘bad actors’ could harm their industry. House Bill 328 is really about professionalism, accountability, and most importantly, public safety, and bringing our state up to standards already in place in other states,” Nageak, D-Barrow, said. “Thank you to the governor and my colleagues down in Juneau for helping us get this bill across the finish line.”

The bill creates a whole host of reforms, including establishing a regulatory framework, licensure requirements and exemptions, and transitional language to offer Alaskans reasonable consumer protections and a standard of care. The licensure will be carried out by the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing within the Dept. of Commerce.

“Massage therapy is a growing profession and we have a duty to meet that demand with proper safeguards for Alaskans,” Nageak said. “Regulation isn’t always looked upon as a good thing, but in this instance it is welcomed by the industry. They want the public to know that they have the professional and educational backgrounds to provide a service. At the same time, thanks to the bill, they can increase their opportunity to develop their businesses through new partnerships.”

The licensing requirement in the bill will also give providers a small business boost, allowing therapists to become preferred providers and bill insurance companies directly versus going through chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians.

HB 328 takes effect immediately.

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