An Alternative to CE Regulation (just in the nick of time)

As I’ve written about on this blog, the NCBTMB has been trying to roll out an “upgraded” scheme to regulate the entire world of continuing education. After all, their stated mission is “To define and advance the highest standards in the massage and bodywork profession.” (Doesn’t that give them free rein to tell the rest of us what to do?) Apparently, NCB wasn’t satisfied with just approving CE providers – now they want to require the thousands of CE courses to pass through their hands as well. Go back to my posts from November 18, December 28 and January 8 to read about the many problems that are likely to come up if NCB’s new Board Approved Continuing Education Provider Program comes to pass.

If this wasn’t bad enough, along comes the FSMTB who have announced they are jumping into the CE approval game with their own new approval process. They’re calling for volunteers to serve on three different committees that will build and operate a whole deal that will be separate from what NCB is planning.

We already have too many different CE approval hoops for providers to jump through. It’s just plain crazy for FSMTB to be looking at putting another national approval scheme on the map. The feedback I get is that many CE providers are already struggling with the challenges of the economy and the burdens of CE regulation. If nothing changes, things are about to go from bad to worse in the CE community.

Fortunately, some people outside of these two silos have had their thinking caps on. My NC colleague Rick Rosen has just put out a major white paper on this subject, which will give you everything you need to know to understand this issue (and then some). Most importantly, he has come up with a very interesting and practical alternative to the formal regulation of CE, to be called the National Continuing Education Registry.

In this paper, Rosen poses four big questions that challenge the basic assumptions that have driven our regulation of CE. He says these must be addressed before NCB and FSMTB do anything else with their approval schemes.

He provides a lot of useful background information along with detailed answers to these questions. All of that serves as a lead-in to an overview of the National Continuing Education Registry. It is designed to be an online listing service that will replace all existing national and state CE approval processes:

  • CE providers will be screened by a designated entity to determine that: 1) the provider is a legitimate business entity, and 2) where required, the provider has a valid state-issued massage therapy license, registration or certification. Providers will sign a participation agreement that includes adherence to a code of ethics.
  • Each CE course will be screened to determine that it is within established subject matter standards that are broadly relevant to the professional practice of massage therapy.
  • The Registry may be utilized by state massage regulatory agencies as the means to determine whether a CE course is acceptable for renewal of a licensee’s credentials to practice. In a similar way, NCBTMB (or other certification agencies in the future) could utilize this service to determine whether a course taken by a certificant meets the criteria for recertification.
  • This service will give massage therapists a basic level of assurance that listed courses will be accepted for license renewal and/or recertification, and that the course is offered by a credible individual or institutional provider.

The overall structure of the Registry is similar in ways to the Multiple Listing Service concept in real estate. It will be based on a voluntary participation of CE providers, who agree to conduct their business according to a code of ethics. Like shopping for a house, therapists will have to perform their due diligence to find the courses and providers that meet their learning needs. There are no guarantees, but a provider’s reputation for integrity will be a great asset.

So instead of making CE regulation more burdensome, complex and costly, he is offering a way to simplify, streamline and consolidate the whole process. That sounds damn good to me!

If you care about this issue, I highly recommend that you read Rosen’s paper to get the complete picture, and then contact the leaders of NCB and FSMTB and urge them to set aside their own approval programs in favor of this National Continuing Education Registry. The power of grassroots lobbying is the only tool we have to get the small group of people who lead these two organizations to wake up and smell the coffee on this vital issue.

You can download the white paper from this link:
http://tinyurl.com/NCER-Proposal-FEB2013

There are few people who understand how all the pieces fit together in the massage therapy profession. As someone who was a co-founder of both FSMTB and AFMTE, served as a state massage board chair, and is a school director, CE provider and CE sponsor, Rosen takes the long view in looking at the problems in our profession. Frankly, I don’t know where he finds the time to research and write these papers, but I’m sure grateful that someone cares enough to do it! I urge everyone to share this with their networks.

 

28 thoughts on “An Alternative to CE Regulation (just in the nick of time)

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  3. Lucas Zarlengo

    I’d be curious to see how this would work – in many states, it wouldn’t at this moment in time simply due to the legal verbage in massage laws to the effect of “NCBTMB approved continuing education…” At best, the MT would solely have to petition (and pay the additional fee if the state has one) to get the CE credits working. Not sure MTs want the extra work or expense. And changing the laws would be a multi-year process that presumably, something would change and then this ‘voluntary’ registration may became something required of CE providers and/or require more from whoever manages it. MLS in real estate, although ‘voluntary’ overall, is required by many states, making it mandated. It changes the playing field yet again.

  4. Whitney Lowe

    You mention that CE has become more burdensome because the FSMTB is now jumping into the game. Yet, you suggest it is going to become less burdensome if a 3rd party enters into this process (I think most would likely agree that neither the FSMTB or NCB are likely to just voluntarily decide not to work on CE anymore).

    The white paper says: In this proposal CE providers and courses will be screened by a “designated entity” which seems like an interest phrase for another organization that we will have to grapple with. I don’t think when you have a system that has problems (and the CE process surely does), that the answer is always to create another organization and another layer of red tape and paperwork hoops that the providers have to jump through. We already have a significant degree of infrastructure in place working on this and I think we would be much better served by fixing and correcting what is already in place.

    If you think there are already too many hoops for providers to jump through, it doesn’t make any sense at all to start this process all over again with a third organization.

  5. Claude Ratliff

    “Each CE course will be screened to determine that it is within established subject matter standards that are broadly relevant to the professional practice of massage therapy.”

    I will be highly interested in the “subject matter standards that are broadly relevant” and how the standards are selected. I really am uncomfortable being within the same certifying and licensing category with reflexology and universal energy manipulators. We need a two track certification and licensing system for those who are massage shaman and those who just want to practice massage.

    I am down loading the white paper and I will send my comments. Mr. Rosen has definitely put forward the obvious remedy. The proof will be in the details.

  6. Rick Rosen

    Whitney,
    My proposal for the creation of a National Continuing Education Registry is based on the consolidation of existing state and national approval processes. In no way am I suggesting the ADDITION of another approval scheme. If NCB and FSMTB are unwilling to change their current plans, then the Registry alternative will be moot.

    In the proposal, I purposely left out discussion of where the Registry will be best housed. It could involve one of the existing stakeholder organizations in our field, or the function could be handled by a management service outside of our field. That’s a downstream consideration.

    All things considered, NCB’s existing Approved CE Provider program had been working adequately. It was NCB’s thrust to “upgrade” the program and dramatically increase its scope and requirements — combined with the entry of FSMTB into the CE approval game — that sent the needle into the red zone.

    Let’s focus our attention on encouraging the leaders of NCB and FSMTB to look beyond their own silos, and act for the greater good.

  7. Whitney Lowe

    I understand that the intent of this proposal is that the NCB and FSMTB would just voluntarily give up their role in CE oversight. I just don’t think that is logically feasible. The NCB issues a certification credential which requires continuing education in order to maintain the certification. According to this proposal the NCB would turn over requirements, content, and scope of courses that would be approved for maintaining this certification to a currently non-existent “entity”. It just doesn’t seem like a sensible thing to do.

  8. Rick Rosen

    Whitney,
    As you know, NCBTMB chose have its certification program accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies — it was not a requirement to exist. NCCA’s Standards of Accreditation for certification programs only mandate that they require practitioners to periodically recertify – and that recertification requirements “measure or enhance the continued competence of certificants”. Here’s the salient point: NCCA’s accreditation standards DO NOT require NCB to administer its own CE approval program.

    Go to the Notes section in my white paper, and click on the link under item 17 to pull up the NCCA Standards of Accreditation. Standard 20 states: “The certification program must demonstrate that its recertification requirements measure or enhance the continued competence of certificants.” It does not dictate the means by which this outcome is achieved.

    NCB could meet the requirements of Standard 20 simply by mandating that its certificants complete a designated number of hours of continuing education in a renewal period from providers and courses that are listed on the National Continuing Education Registry.

  9. John Joseph Ray

    I agree with Laura that the FSMTB’s intentions to get into the CE regulation business just muddies everything for no reason. Since NCBTMB has the most experience with CE regulation, I’m in favor of them continuing to have a major role in that. I know they’ve made mistakes – i.e. approving organizations as a whole, leading to umbrella approval of anything they put out. But I think they’re going in the right direction by trying to change that and only approve individual CE providers. Since I’ve already had some classes reviewed and approved by NCB, I support checking individual classes to ensure their relevance to massage therapy. There is a lot of fluff out there passing as CEUs. Can NCB do it right? It’s hard to tell – a lot of folks are wary since they’ve shot themselves in the foot sometimes in the past. Do we need another new entity to handle CE? Probably not. Will states re-do their laws and regs on CE to conform? Phew! That would be a herculean task at best.

  10. Rick Rosen

    To address the comments of John Ray and Lisa Mertz:
    Changing statues and rules is a state-by-state process that will need to be supported and financed by our two major membership associations that are actively involved in government relations: AMTA and ABMP. It will also need the strong support of FSMTB, which advocates for and provides guidance to its Member Boards.

    In general, statues (laws) are harder to change because they require an act of a state’s legislature and governor’s signature. The power to make, amend or rescind rules is within the authority of most state agencies that regulate massage therapy — and it’s an easier process to navigate (but still no cake walk).

    The law passed recently in New York added requirements for mandatory CE for license renewal — and a new state-based approval process for CE providers. With a $900 app fee per provider, this new regulatory scheme was a step in the wrong direction. The law could get modified in the same way it was passed: with AMTA paying to hire a lobbyist to guide it through the legislature, and the AMTA-NC Chapter lending its grassroots support.

    The essential thing to focus on right now is getting FSMTB and NCB to set aside their individual plans for CE approvals, and put their full resources behind this new “third-way” solution. There are many, many details that will need to be scripted out in the implementation of the National Continuing Education Registry; the fine points don’t have to be determined for these two organizations to take the first critical step.

  11. AJ Hiney

    I just read the blog and Rosen’s assertions. Lowe has some good counterpoints, but my overriding sense it this: NCBTMB has historically shown they are ill equipped to handle the certification/licensing/advanced
    certification issues that are dead within their defined domain to begin with, so how on earth can we put an entire professions trust in them in yet another critical area that they cant seem to get a grip on. Mr. Rosen, I agree with you, as my understanding is they are but a whisper of their former selves in qualified staff, resources and expertise, and have lack of seasoned people in many areas. This could infer that they also have lost some important insight, instinct and knowledge of the landscape here. Lack of a public comment on their last AP plan demonstrates they DON’T GET IT. How much more of this nonsense needs to go on before someone turns on the lights? So how does the approved provider/ ce universe expect them to discern, delineate or administer anything on a major scale such as this. I see their board turned its chair in January, so there may be yet another disconnect in the consistency of direction (new chairs like to assert themselves with their own ideas, it is an almost universal truth with non-profits and associations). I was appalled to hear, as Rosen states, they are already reconsidering for the umpteenth time YET AGAIN their AP strategy, now under chair Toscano I assume, so point made. All this adds up to one thing in my mind: how many times is this profession going to enable NCBTMB to embarrass us and keep holding us back. Someone else needs to fix this. I almost think FSMTB would even be preferable, and I disdain government oversight and over regulation. Anything. I will be applying for new AP status later this year, and I hope fervently for something better. I like Rosen’s idea, if for no other reason, than it is new, seemingly based in fact and reason, and includes a lot of experience and insight. Good going Mr. Rosen, whoever you are. I get it, and I am no rocket scientist. I vote for a third party.

  12. AJ Hiney

    Afterthought: In fact Mr. Rosen, why don’t you take this on yourself? Spearhead it, form the posse, lead the charge – don’t limit your involvement to its authorship alone. I see from your bio you have the pedigree, and probably the following, as you seem to be an agent of change. Were you not instrumental in the development of the EMBLEX exam? This seems to be your forte.

  13. Rick Rosen

    AJ, thanks for that vote of confidence — but I don’t believe we need a new organization to handle the National CE Registry. We already have a full contingent of stakeholder organizations in the massage therapy field. The challenge is in getting these organizations to do a better job of shared visioning and planning, and to collaborate on the provision of key functions where needed. This is one of those opportunities.

    The summit meetings where the leaders of ABMP, AFMTE, AMTA, COMTA, FSMTB, MTF and NCB have gathered is the place for such collective planning to occur. Unfortunately, this issue of CE regulation did not make it onto the agenda for the group’s most recent meeting in December — even though NCB had published its new Board Approved CE Provider Program just a few weeks earlier. If this group is not able or willing to have the difficult conversations about what is really happening in its midst, then we will continue to have a field based on inconsistent standards and haphazard quality.

    Right now, the spotlight is on NCB and FSMTB to break the logjam and work together. Continuing education in the massage therapy field does NOT need intensive government-style regulation. The concept I’ve proposed for a screened listing service would provide the credibility assurance that therapists want, while giving state boards and national cert organizations the framework needed to accept Registry-listed courses for renewal of credentials.

  14. Holly Foster

    Mr. Rosen, I’ve read your white paper a couple of times now. I still don’t understand where your proposal for a “screened listing service” is really any different than the previous NCB CE approval process, nor what FSMTB is presumably planning. NCB requires that courses/ instructors sign a pledge to adhere to a code of ethics (their code of ethics). Your proposal does the same thing. NCB then lists courses/ instructors on their website — much the same as your proposal would.

    The heart of the matter is that states that are utilizing NCBTMB approval for required CE are in violation of the law for improper delegation of authority — much in the same way they were when they accepted the NCE. I suspect someone called this to the attention of the FSMTB member boards, and began the process of those same boards to have FSMTB establish a CE approval process of their own.

    I don’t see how your suggestion eliminates that concern, unless FSMTB is the one (because the member boards have input into the process) who will be the entity deemed to oversee that the content of the courses’ subject matter is relevant to the massage profession.

    State boards of massage have no other purpose than the regulation of the profession. They will never elevate it. FSMTB, therefore, cannot take on any greater task than maintenance of professional standards set forth in the practice acts of their member boards.

    I am in agreement that ALL of the stakeholder organizations, and the member of this profession need to get their heads out of their backsides and start working collaboratively. At this juncture we’re losing ground, not gaining it.

  15. AJ Hiney

    Mr. Rosen I respectfully disagree with the notion that NCBTMB and the Federation will work in concert on anything. There is too much animosity, acrimony and downright contempt between those two factions from bad blood that runs so deep it’s hardly worth delving into it anymore. I have spoken to many of my peers and it seems the facts at hand are telling: NCB is soon to be out of licensure altogether – based on published numbers their exam losses are precipitous, so that writing is on the wall. That’s a good thing, but I assume it’s also their money tree. But NCB’s foothold seems to be less prominent across all other areas of the profession as well, to wit., they cant seem to generate any traction for their new exam (the website says the beta keeps being pushed back, why is that?) or for their new AP program (which they got wrong again). I also see their certificant numbers continuing to shrink. Problems with their customer service continue unabated and their new online tool doesn’t work as advertised (I know, as I have had problems with both recently myself). The sum total of all this is that their stock is in something of a free fall. This rapid decay will result in continued lack of confidence with important stakeholders across the field, and one of them will be … the state boards.
    Mr. Rosen, with your background as a former regulator, would you feel confident in suggesting your board continue to list NCBTMB in your rules as the sole “third party” administrator of CE’s across the nation? And as you report, with added threats of providers possibly “boycotting” NCBTMB, I am sure the states are taking notice and the Federation is smelling blood in the water. I wouldn’t be surprised if states begin a slow but steady exodus from NCBTMB as “big daddy CE decider” – at the urging of the FSMTA itself – in exchange for a more reliable, predictable and risk-free resource. When that occurs, NCB’s program, if they come up with one, will lose street cred entirely, and even their own certificants will cease to see the point. A departure that may already be in progress.

    But that’s not the worst of it – I am looking to become a provider later this year. It doesn’t take a genius to see the multiple hoops that are in the making – layers that we will all need to jump through. Why are these agencies, who purport to be in support of the public safety and quality of the profession, content in making it harder for us to do what we do? To excel, grow and prosper. It’s an abomination. This profession needs a single source of balanced, ecumenical oversight for provider/ce approval. Perhaps the one you proffer. But with the current dash between NCBTMB, the FSMTA and the states themselves to lay down their own requirements to control the funds and the landscape, the losers will be all of us. The providers, practitioners, educators and consumers of massage. The AMTA ABMP, and anyone who adds CE to their conferences. Because no one will be able to afford the exorbitant costs or deal with the red tape and areas of confusion. The players’ plans will conflict and a true disaster will ensue.

    Sadly, as the storm clouds gather, I don’t see these two burying any hatchets because letting go means loss of revenue and respectability for NCBTMB and a lost chance at more control for FSMTA. The poor states? – they just want something that makes sense, is stress, cost and hassle free and protects their public.

    So, good luck Mr. Rosen if your plan relies on a magical spirit of detente between these folks. As you said, the spotlight is now on them to work together. I submit that the spotlight HAS been on them, for years, and you see what has happened. Now again, sadly, the fate of this important aspect of our beloved profession is left to the vagaries of two insolent children, who have no more desire to lay aside their differences than rival gangs in a street fight. And we could all be destined to be part of the collateral damage.

  16. Alice Sanvito

    I’ve totally lost interest in NCBTMB. They approve classes that are so ridiculous that one could mistake their material as coming from The Onion. (Like “The Bars.” California real estate salesman has it “revealed” to him that there are 32 “bars” in the head that, when touched in his special way, will remove 15,000 years of “point of view.” I’m not making this up. And it has NCBTMB approval. ) Their approval is not just meaningless, it’s harmful. It legitimizes nonsense. NCBTMB started out as a good idea in the absence of state licensing, but they have deteriorated into a body that rubber-stamps any silly modality. Their primary purpose, at this point, seems to be to stay in business, not serve any useful purpose to the massage community.

    I don’t think a provider should have to be a licensed massage therapist. Many other professionals could provide useful CE classes to massage therapists, including doctors, physical therapists, researchers. I’ve had a number of classes with physical therapists over the years, studied anatomy with an MD professor of anatomy, and took a class on pain science taught by a registered nurse. None of them would meet the requirement to be a licensed massage therapist. Several states still don’t have licensing, making it impossible for some to meet the requirement, no matter how qualified they were to teach a class. I think the credentials of the practitioner are less important than the substance of the material they are teaching.

    I’m not sure exactly what the solution is. I’ve always used word of mouth to judge from whom I get my CEUs. I listen to the recommendations of other MTs whose values and interests are compatible with my own. In this way, I’ve found some very good instructors.

    However, I realize that many MTs do not have ready access to a network of well-informed colleagues, making it harder for them to make good choices and easier to be misled. Many are just looking to fill their requirements and don’t care much about the quality of their education. For these reasons, I’d like to see some assurance that CEs have *some* basis in reality so we can slow the spread of unfounded ideas that are epidemic in the massage community. For those who really care about their education, I think word of mouth from trusted sources continues to be one of the best ways to find good instructors and good classes.

  17. Lisa Helbig

    I first want to say that Rick Rosen wrote a wonderful paper with lots of facts and great details on where we stand today. It is really nice to see someone not just write about the problems but also to propose suggestions to repair the problem. Too often people complain but have nothing else besides complaining ti say.

    I really like his ideas but I think we are way too late for this to happen. I can’t see the NCB walking away from their position of power in this arena and I don’t think we need them to. They are a business and can’t just walk away from their revenue stream. As your chart dictates, they are the giant gorilla in the CE Approval forum and are in most states regulations. I would think this would take years to change. The FSMBT jumping in now is what really muddies the waters. I wish each organization could take the area they excel in and focus their energy there. I really wish the FSMTB and the NCB could work together as each really excels in something different. The TSMTB is also not going to walk away from an area that they feel would be profitable ti them either. I can’t blame either one. How many of us would walk away from our businesses to make things easier for the masses?

    As a school owner, MCB volunteer and COMTA Commissioner I see how much work goes into creating a process that can seem to make no sense to the person sitting on the other end of the application process. What I can say is that many hours are put in by volunteers that truly want to help this profession move forward and I am sure both of these groups feel they are doing the right thing. Sometimes though what seems right is not always the best way to go. Approving a course can be very time consuming and now having everyone who teaches that course approved separately is going to put undue burdens on our CE Providers, no matter who approves them. It is also going prove to be way too much for these organizations. When a school gets approved to teach basic education they submit an application for the school, program and perhaps a resume on the instructors. In accreditation it is done the same way. Once every few years the school that is up for reaccreditation is visited and some instructors are observed. The fact of the matter is that the schools are responsible for training and hiring competent staff and it is up to them to make sure the quality of the program is there. Sometimes you get an instructor that is not as good as you would like and you let them go. The new proposal by NCB does not allow for this to happen and the truth is that their process won’t make the education offered in CE classes any better.

    While I do like Mr. Rosen’s ideas I just don’t see them as feasible. No amounts of asking will make either group walk away. I wish my opinion was different but based on experience I just don’t see it. That is not to say I don’t like it and would be happy to help if you had a plan to move things forward. I think our best bet in the meantime is to get the NCB to focus their attention wehere it matters and that is simply in CE Approval.

    Lisa Helbig

  18. Rick Rosen

    Lisa, thanks for taking time to read my proposal, and for your kind words about my efforts. If we see that the status quo with CE regulation is fouled up, but also believe that change is not possible, where does that leave us?

    In the white paper, I did not want to get in the details of how the new National CE Registry would be administrated. That is for the organizations involved to work out. The question of where the Registry will be hosted is less important right now than getting stakeholders to recognize that continuing education in the massage therapy field does NOT need intensive government-style regulation. The concept I’ve proposed for a screened listing service would provide the credibility assurance that therapists want, while giving state boards and national cert organizations the framework needed to accept Registry-listed courses for renewal of credentials.

    As I see it, NCB could easily adopt the Registry plan in place of the Board Approved CE Provider program it is attempting to roll out. It would be a whole lot easier to run than the scheme their leaders have come up with. NCB would have to be willing to partner with FSMTB, to give the Federation the needed mechanism of supervision and oversight that state boards must have to satisfy the Delegation of Authority requirement.

    The other consideration with having NCB host the Registry is its past record of poor customer service and antagonistic behavior towards FSMTB. Is NCB capable of moving beyond that chapter of history? If there can be clear agreements and performance standards going forward, I believe it’s possible for NCB to retain its role in the CE process.

    If NCB’s leadership stays in the silo and refuses to budge, and if FSMTB’s leadership refuses to bury the hatchet and won’t work with NCB, then we truly are at an impasse. It will be the CE providers who suffer, as well as the community of learners in our field. I believe that is an avoidable outcome, if we put our voices and energy behind the very sensible alternative I have proposed. NCB will simply not survive if its leaders keep putting forth programs that are overblown and mismatched to the needs of the massage therapy field.

    We must fix this CE regulation problem from the source, and not continue piling more regulations on top of what already is not working. Personally, I’m not attached to what entity handles this CE Registry function — but it needs to be done well.

  19. AJ Hiney

    Well it’s been some time since Mr. Rosen’s white paper hit the streets. Have either of these entities responded or communicated on any blogs or social sites? How are these processes supposed to occur? Who talks to whom?

  20. AJ Hiney

    Maybe no one cares? If so where are the discussions being held? Because if the only people who care are the 7 or 8 here, what does it matter anyway? I appreciate these professionals who have at least taken the time to state their case.

  21. Rick Rosen

    AJ, the white paper’s only been out for a week. I did receive courteous acknowledgments from Sue Toscano, NCB Chair, and Jaimie Huffman, FSMTB President. Both indicated their respective boards would be reviewing and discussing the proposal. Non-profits tend to move slowly, so it’s important that these organizations hear from as many people as possible in the next several weeks in support of the Registry Plan.

    Ms. Huffman stated in her email to me that FSMTB was NOT pursuing its own CE approval program. I pointed out to her that the home page of the FSMTB website has a Call for Participants to serve on three different workgroups for their Licensure Renewal Committee — and that it sure looked like the backbone of a CE approval program. I suggested that FSMTB issue a clarification of their intent, but that has not yet been forthcoming.

    The biggest leverage point is that NCB needs CE providers and school directors to enthusiastically support its new Board Certification credential. If NCB alienates the very people who are the best position to influence therapists about pursuing this new (and unproven) credential, it is likely that the Board Certification Program will wind up in the same place as NCB’s recent Advanced Certification credential — in the dust bin.

    The only thing that has kept NCB in the game — in the face of so many failed initiatives — is that its leaders were clever enough to get the NCB certification exams and CE approval program encoded in so many states’ massage laws and rules. That entanglement is unhealthy, and needs to be removed — one state at a time.

  22. Lisanne Franco

    I am both a member and Approved Provider with NCBTMB. As of the next go ’round I will be giving up my NCBTMB membership and Approved Provider status with them.
    As an Approved Provider, NCB is now requiring me to pay them for a background check, requiring me to re-pay them for classes that were already approved and have raised the AP membership fee. Since my classes are small and only teach about 10 classes per year, it is certainly not worth my while to cough up more and more money for them. In regard to all this I wrote NCB a letter noting my disgust with the changes and new, exorbitant fees…I never heard back from them.
    As an NCB member for 13 years, I can attest to the fact that they do nothing for their members. It is now around $250 to renew with them. Since I am in NY State and membership is optional, I will not turn over any more money to them.
    Massage Therapists are required to put a lot of their income toward CE’s, liability insurance, license renewals and a host of other miscellaneous costs. It just doesn’t make sense to pay out money and get nothing in return.
    I’m glad to see that others are working to tone down the non-sense that seems to be permeating our industry. Good luck, I’ll be following the news.

  23. AJ Hiney

    Thank you Mr. Rosen, I appreciate your clarification and update. At least the NCB and FSMTB high command did you the courtesy of cursory replies. But we’ve all seen that movie too many times.

    “As of the next go ’round I will be giving up my NCBTMB membership and Approved Provider status with them.” That is the statement from Lisanne Franco above. I think her sentiments are illustrative in what could be happening across the spectrum of therapists and providers regarding their affiliation with NCBTMB. People are tired, confused, and have lost all belief in NCBTMB leading anything. I’m not the expert you are, but the issue as I see it is this:

    As you indicated above, NCB has had the luxury of being written into the state licensure and ce/provider language in many states’ rules and regs. But now that most schools and practitioners realize they no longer need to take the NCB’s exams for their entry level, the NCB exam will be eradicated by the EMBLEX test. And NCB’s new certification? – seems like no one cares. So NCBTMB will see its status diminish, resulting in a dramatic drop in therapists who want or need NCB’s provider/ce stamp of approval. Those therapists’ primary concern will ONLY be the renewal of their state license, which is the domain of the boards and the FSMTB. That puts them in the driver’s seat, and there will be no need for collaboration as I see it.

    So, FSMTB can say politically what they like, but they hold the cards if they decide to play their hand, which they have always done. The bonus for them is that their oversight for ap/ce also alleviates the “delegation of power” conundrum. Plus, since NCBTMB is a private entity, the profession has no say or input should they decide to go rogue, which they have done so many times before. At least with the states’ oversight there are procedures for input from the public, schools, providers, therapists, AMTA, ABMP, etc.

    One final thought: as you caution, the only thing that can buttress NCB will be a resurgence in the VALUE and DEMAND for their new certification. But they are doing nothing to underpin that value by promoting the credential to anyone – leastwise the healthcare profession who most need to “get it.” NCB doesn’t seem to understand that an extra fee and extra exam, more than ever, needs to show VALUE IN THE HEALTHCARE ARENA AND INCREASE IN EARNING POWER. There is none of this. They continue to miss the point of their own existence. And the point that ce/ provider/certification/customer service dynamics all interrelate. Instead, they are grasping at straws and gasping for air. They need a leader who understands business and relationships – and the real world dynamics here – before they cease to exist.

    In any case, it seems to be FSMTB’s game, which I support. Regulation aside, at least we will all have ONE set of standards, ONE fee structure, ONE point of contact for rules and a group that communicates as a unit. PLEASE try and find a way to work with them – to build and institute your ce repository plan. It seems like a good one, and could win the day Mr. Rosen.

  24. AJ Hiney

    Quick followup Mr. Rosen: as a soon-to-be ce provider myself, I would like to join any initiative to help remove the “entanglement” from states’ language so I and my provider colleagues will not have to continue to jump through multiple, confusing and exorbitantly expensive hoops to teach state-approved ce’s. How can I get involved? – AJ

  25. John Haversack

    I used to be a volunteer for them, and in my opinion the NCB has had one or two professionals in recent years at the helm who really seemed to understand business and communications and growth dynamics as you say. They didn’t seem to get the chance to do their job because of our somewhat dysfunctional boards and board chairs. Sad.

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