Follow our legislative and regulatory tracking, and take action on the issues important to you and your practice. Support the massage profession by participating in AMTA's advocacy efforts. Make your voice heard regarding critical massage related issues facing the profession. By becoming advocates you are helping maintain the highest standards for the massage therapy profession and the highest quality of care for the massage consumer.
AMTA’s June Advocacy Activities
Despite the fact that COVID restrictions are still prohibiting most in-person advocacy meetings, AMTA continues our ongoing efforts to engage with policymakers and other organizations that focus on health issues related to massage therapy. Below are examples of some recent activities:
AMTA Meets With Chair of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
On June 8, AMTA participated in a virtual meeting with Rep. Anna Eshoo’s (D-CA) health policy staff. Rep. Eshoo is a senior member of Congress who serves as Chair of the Health Subcommittee on the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) - one of the key committees which focuses on issues related to massage therapy.
AMTA provided information on the number of massage therapists in Eshoo’s district, California, and the U.S. as a whole, as well as the status of massage therapy coverage by the VA and Medicare Advantage. And, we expressed our interest in the passage of legislation (such as the NOPAIN Act and similar bills) that may increase access to massage therapy. Rep. Eschoo’s staff offered to collaborate with AMTA and our colleagues to advance legislation that reduces opioid reliance while promoting access to integrative health treatments.
AMTA Meets with Chief Research and Development Officer at The Department of Veterans Affairs
On June 14, AMTA also participated in a virtual meeting with Rachel Ramoni, Chief Research and Development Officer at the VA. AMTA was able to join this event as a member of the “Friends of VA”. The meeting provided AMTA with the opportunity to hear about the VA’s proposed budget for the coming year and its priority research areas, which will help us to promote the use of massage therapy within the VA and the massage therapists who work with our nation’s veterans.
Update on the NOPAIN Act
When we asked for your help, you responded by sending over 8,000 letters of support to your respective House and Senate members in Congress, garnering bipartisan support from 62 Representatives and 24 Senators.
What is the NOPAIN Act?
The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act would increase access to non-opioid approaches for acute pain management – including massage therapy. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators reintroduced the bill on March 4. As an early endorser, AMTA worked behind the scenes to ensure the bill contained massage therapy.
Why This Matters to Massage Therapists
This AMTA-supported legislation is a part of AMTA's ongoing advocacy efforts at the federal and state levels to enact responsible policies that help increase access to massage therapy.
NOPAIN is moving forward thanks in large part to our AMTA community.
Update on the CARA Act
What is the CARA Act?
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA 3.0) would help expand access to comprehensive approaches to pain care – including massage therapy.
The bill would fund new research into non-opioid alternatives and increase continuing education for physicians and providers on these alternatives.
The bill also contains specific AMTA-supported language from the NOPAIN Act that requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report to Congress on identified gaps in Medicare coverage for pain, including massage therapy, and to make recommendations to increase patient access to these therapies.
The first Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act was signed into law on July 22, 2016. The most recent bill comes after two previous and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to pass CARA 2.0 in February of 2018 and December of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light new challenges and a surge in overdose deaths. CARA 3.0 bill would strengthen the 2016 CARA Act to address this, and add additional funding.
Why This Matters to Massage Therapists
Much like the NOPAIN Act, CARA 3.0 would help increase access to and continuing education for health care providers on non-opioid alternatives – including massage therapy.
AMTA’s Commitment to Members and the Profession
As a nonprofit association, AMTA is committed to giving back to the massage therapy community. We do this by investing your membership dollars in advocacy, research, scholarships and more.
Through advocacy work, AMTA volunteers and staff strive to enhance the reputation and acceptance of massage therapy and the crucial role of professional massage therapists.
While last year was like no other, staff worked to ensure members had the timely updates and information needed around COVID-19, while continuing the important work to raise the profile of the profession among federal and state governments and agencies, the health care community, insurance companies, and consumers.
What Happened in 2020?
Here are just some of the things volunteers and staff did on behalf of members and the massage therapy profession in 2020:
- AMTA provided continuous updates around COVID-19 and related issues impacting massage therapists, including stimulus bills, small business loan issues, unemployment, accelerated and advance payments, state operational issues, the status of reopening among the states, and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for both general business and health care through the AMTA website, social media, and more than 200 emails to members.
- More than 25,000 advocates took action through our grassroots advocacy network to send over 84,000 letters to elected officials, including 70,000 letters in support of the CARES Act.
- We continue to work with NOPAIN Act (H.R. 5172 and S. 3067) key partners and supporters, including the AMA, American Nurses Association, the National Safety Council, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the FDA, to increase patient access to massage therapy as a non-addictive, non-opioid approach to pain management. The bill would require Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enhance access to integrative therapies such as massage. It would also increase the recognition of massage therapy as a billable benefit.
- AMTA, as part of the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management (AACIPM), participated in working groups and on presentations with partner organizations to educate health care providers, payers (insurance companies) and patients on the benefits of integrative therapies including massage, raising the profile of the profession as an alternative to pain management.
- The Government Relations team urged the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to include massage therapy in updated guidelines for pain management – the CDC has indicated they have heard the massage community, and are actively considering AMTA suggestions.
- Working at the state level with partners and volunteers, state-based legislative wins included bills to improve standards for the massage therapy profession, enhance continuing education requirements, and the legal recognition of massage therapy.