All the talk in recent weeks of the “fiscal cliff” and the refusal of the Republicans and the Democrats to play nice together in the interest of the highest common good reminds me of the current situation between the NCBTMB and the FSMTB.
The NCB is operating from hubris (not to mention cluelessness), as they continue to put forth wrong-headed initiatives for the field. The latest plan to do away with organizational approval for CE providers is just the latest in a stream of missteps from the organization. They rolled that sudden announcement out like it was the best thing since sliced bread, and providers are choking on it. The application to become an approved provider has been totally removed from their website in the last day or two. I think they might be revisiting some of that plan in response to the unfavorable reception, which has included rumblings of boycotting the organization.
FSMTB is doing their own thing with the MBLEx well enough–in fact, extremely well, but when it comes to dealing with NCBTMB, it appears that the leadership of the FSMTB would rather see the organization fail than lift a hand to help them. They appear to be bearing a huge grudge over the way NCB has treated the Federation, and their unwillingness to move beyond that is stopping progress at the whole-profession level.
In case you’re uninformed, the NCBTMB has had their exam removed in a few states, and they have successfully legally challenged and won those challenges. That doesn’t sit well with the Federation, who would like to see the MBLEx as the only exam for entry-level massage licensing.
The NCB needs to get out of the entry-level exam business, in my opinion, but they can’t afford to right now. I believe they were depending on the increased revenue from the new requirement of CE course approvals to be the cash cow that would bail them out and make them financially viable again. The problem is that it’s unfair and unreasonable to put this burden on the backs of the CE provider community that is already challenged in so many ways.
FSMTB could provide that bridge through a transfer agreement and compensation package, which would resolve the “Exam Wars” once and for all. That type of action is not without precedent; it has happened in other licensed professions when it became apparent that it was time to evolve into a more streamlined process for the good of all concerned, including licensees.
It’s insane for FSMTB to even be meeting about building its own CE approval program, which they are in fact doing, when it would create more problems than it would solve. If these two organizations would sit down and hammer out such an agreement, the NCBTMB could remain the administrator of a dialed-back CE registry program, which state boards could reference, and which could finally serve as the one unified solution that the CE provider community has been needing. If the Federation jumps into the fray with yet another approval program and persuade the states to accept that, it will take but a few short years for them to put the NCBTMB out of business once and for all, which I would prefer not to see happen.
It’s time to put the hubris and the grudge and the egos aside and come to the table. The board members of both of these organizations have the power to make that happen. Your directors serve at your discretion and you ought to remember that you are not there to blindly follow the leader. A meeting of the minds is not possible when a meeting hasn’t taken place. If I were serving on either of these boards, I would be making the motion to sit down together and come to an agreement that will serve the profession on the whole.