The March 1, 2014 meeting of the Board of Directors welcomed the new board and officers. New President Nancy Porambo welcomed both the new board members and the chapter volunteers present.
The board received a financial report and a summary of the auditing process for the fiscal year that ended February 28. A full and audited report will follow at the June board meeting. It was also reported that 84% of chapters had submitted their budgets for the close of the fiscal year, with a final deadline of March 3. The reports indicated AMTA is in very strong financial condition.
The board also welcomed new Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) President Jerrilyn Cambron, who updated the board on Foundation activities, programs and operations. As the primary benefactor for the MTF, Nancy Porambo reminded all attendees that AMTA has provided the MTF with $7,086,704 since its founding and total contributions in the 2013/14 fiscal year of approximately $557,682. The board also approved additional support for AMTA’s runner (member Kristen Lutz of Massachusetts) in the Boston Marathon. The board agreed that it will match the funds raised by Kristen for the Foundation, with a total contribution not to exceed $10,000.
The Ongoing Integration of Massage Therapy within Health Care Systems
The board received an update on AMTA’s research and analysis related to the ongoing integration of massage therapy within health care systems. Two consultants (specialists in health care insurance issues and the economics of health care) joined AMTA staff in presentations on various aspects of how the gathered information would be offered to members and chapters to improve their knowledge of the effects of national health care reform.
AMTA’s approach is connected to the association’s vision that as the most trusted professionals in massage therapy, AMTA members are integral to health care and wellness. The project is to develop a value proposition for massage therapy and the potential role for massage therapists in current and emerging health care structures.
National and state-by-state reform of the health care delivery system is focused on the “Triple Aim” of better health care, better patient outcomes, and lower overall cost. Two potential opportunities for massage therapists in reform are “Patient-Centered Medical Homes” (PCMH) – an advanced primary care model that proactively manages patients’ health care needs – and “Accountable Care Organizations” (ACOs) – vertically integrated care networks that include primary care, specialty care, inpatient care, and other health care services. AMTA has gathered a variety of research documenting the value of massage therapy for specific areas which provide the best research evidence for efficacy.
The board thanked volunteer participants who helped develop aspects of the information being formulated: Dr. Basmaa Ali of Zanjabee Integrative Medicine in Massachusetts and Harvard University); Christine Bechtel (of Bechtel Health/Primary Care in Maryland); S. Pualani Gillepsie (LMT, RN and AMTA Board of Directors Member at Large from Hawaii); and, Kimberly Turk (LMT at the Integrative Medicine Department of Duke University and AMTA member from North Carolina).
The information on the economics of massage therapy within health care has centered on building a case for the cost effectiveness of massage therapy, and quantifying the benefits of massage therapy to best position massage therapists to illustrate to health care providers that coverage is in their best economic interests.
AMTA research indicates that health care is 17.2% of the U.S. GDP and that more jobs will be created in health care by 2022 than in any other sector of the economy – 19,000 new jobs per month. This and proving the value of massage therapy for health can present expanding opportunities for those massage therapists who want to work within health care models.
A full report and materials designed for members and for health care administrators will be presented to the board at its June planning meeting and available to members and chapters this summer. Member resources will include self-analysis and practice evaluations massage therapists can use to determine if they wish to pursue potential opportunities within health care structures.
AMTA Processes & Policy
The board also made several decisions related to AMTA processes and policy:
- The board charged the Governance Standing Committee to seek additional input from the Commission on Candidacy and the Commissioner of Elections and to develop new policy regarding national candidacy and elections. This is to include the potential for providing additional biographical information and greater access to candidates running for the National Board, to be presented no later than March 2015.
- The board charged the Governance Standing Committee to research the potential and ramifications of the board electing its own officers from among a board elected by the members, and to report back by March 2015.
- The board approved continuation of the trial run of the Online Delegate Forum and to bring a final recommendation on the Forum to the board in March 2015.
- The board charged a workgroup of the Chapter Relations Committee to review and recommend revised policy on chapter use of member contact information, no later than September 2014.