Blowin’ in the Wind

Whether you prefer the Bob Dylan original version, or the popular treatment by Peter, Paul & Mary, we have our own version of Blowin’ in the Wind being sung by the leaders of FSMTB and NCBTMB.

My last blog (February 11) focused on problems with regulation of continuing education in the massage profession, and put the spotlight on a comprehensive white paper written by Rick Rosen that offers a innovative solution to a very confusing situation. There’s been a lot of activity around this issue, and from what I hear, a lot of CE providers have contacted FSMTB and NCB to express their displeasure with the programs each one has in the works. I believe that Rosen’s concept of a National Continuing Education Registry is the right tool for the job at this point in the massage therapy profession. It will require cooperation and collaboration from both organizations, and would utilize the talents and resources of both. To me that is a far superior state of affairs than the animosity and one-upmanship that has been the prevailing atmosphere between these two organizations for the past half-dozen years or so.

Over the past two weeks, information has come out of NCB that suggests they may be having second thoughts about their “upgraded” Board Approved CE Provider Program. Donna Sarvello, NCB’s CE manager, said, “Providers do not need to renew until their renewal date because while we are reviewing the new program we have reinstated the past program. I can’t give the exact details on the Organization status at this time because we are tweaking the details and then will put it out for public comment.”

If you look on the Continuing Education page on NCB’s website, there is no evidence of what Ms. Sarvello is talking about. The new Board Approved CE Provider Program is right there in all of its convoluted and excessive glory, with a demand that all providers have to renew with the new system by December 31 of this year. What are providers supposed to believe? I am personally choosing to believe Ms. Sarvello, and I advise the NCB to update the website immediately! Any time there is an update in information and/or policy, the stakeholders need to know that, and having incorrect information on the website for these past few weeks is just inexcusable. I am calling out the NCB to clear up this mass confusion right now by making DAILY updates if necessary. Even a message that says “Sorry, we haven’t decided what to do, so no action is expected of you at this time” would be superior to the incorrect instructions that are still posted.

The FSMTB is no clearer about their plans. Their President, Jaime Huffman, claims that FSMTB is not going to create a CE approval program. That just doesn’t jive with their Call for Participants to create three different volunteer workgroups as part of a new Licensure Renewal Committee. And their Standardized Licensure Renewal Recommendations adopted last year by the Board of Directors states that “FSMTB will establish standards for acceptance of professional development activities, including those offered by membership and voluntary certification organizations.” If that doesn’t sound like some kind of approval program, then what is it supposed to be?

The very latest word I’ve received is that the top two leaders from FSMTB and NCB have had “a conversation” about the continuing ed issue in the past week. That’s a positive development, but we don’t know a darn thing about what was discussed or what these two organizations might be willing to do. Whatever it is, it isn’t going to  happen overnight, but I am very pleased that they are finally at the point of having a discussion, something that Rick Rosen and I both have been calling for for a couple of years now.

In the meantime, keep those emails flowing in to Debra Persinger and Jaime Huffman at FSMTB, and Mike Williams and Sue Toscano at NCBTMB. Let ’em know that you expect them to work together to forge a unified solution for how CE should be handled, while easing the regulatory burden on CE providers. The contact information for these two organizations is on page 17 of Rosen’s white paper, which can be accessed from this short link:

It’s time we harnessed the hot air that’s been blowing from these two stakeholder organizations, and direct it towards a positive solution that gives the massage profession what it’s really needing.

14 Replies to “Blowin’ in the Wind”

  1. My concern is the insurance liability requiring the MT to renew with CE’s dates not in correspondance to the national or state recommendations. If your insurance is due in Jan 20013 and your national CE’s are due in Dec 2013 with state CE’s in June 2013; then how are the CE’s due differently than the professional requirements. These dates need to correspond for renewal. These matters are of concern to many practioners with costs of regulations for CE’s in a timely manner. Thank you, sincerely, Karen James LMP, MMP, NCTMB,NAC

  2. I am sick of the whole thing. I am not convinced that more regulation actually makes better classes or better instructors, or even better therapists.

  3. FSMTB is no shining star, but NCBTMB has become a joke. This recent boondoggle convinces me that I made the right decision to stop paying attention to them at all.

  4. Boo. I have been a certified therapist for over 10 years, and had held my NCB certification for most of it. But I dropped it last year when I felt there was no upside anymore. Lately it seems they have taken the ideal of certification to a new low. Bad service, questionable management, blurred programs. This continuing education waffling Laura speaks of proves the current leadership doesn’t know what it’s doing. And when she has to implore them to get their information right? Laughable. And I hear the all new and improved board certification seems to be a non factor too – or is it even happening? Who knows? I read on Facebook the organization is in the hands of some guy that manages it part time from a weekly commute from some other state? omg. That’s some commitment folks, and a wise use of funds. Someone should tell Ms. Sarvelo or whoever’s in charge if her company would have been good stewards of their intellectual material the FSMTB or Rosen would not be prompted to push alternatives because there would be no need, no upside, no support base and therefore no reason.

  5. After reading Laura’s last post, I agree with her and also Karen’s concerns. It feels like NCBTMB just doesn’t care about us out in the real world. As Karen states, what about insurance liability and renewal dates on CE’s? Or attempting to mesh with what states are requiring? It’s all self-serving and about money, holding onto their little domain.

  6. I am sitting by the pool, looking out over the ocean from my beachfront hotel, enjoying one more glorious day in Florida before returning to my practice in Indianapolis. I was fortunate to be here for the Daytona 500 race, and it occurs to me that it is a lot like this FSMTB vs NCB situation. It’s a race for the finish, for the money, the prestige, the power. Each contestant is willing to send the other careening off the track for the ultimate glory – the financial prize that comes from defeating the other. And all of us? We are merely the hapless bystanders, paying our money and looking on in amazement from the cheap seats, hoping not to get hit by any flying shrapnel when the inevitable collision ensues…. 🙂

  7. Excellent article. The only thing that could make it better is the addition of the email address of the NCB folks to whom we should express our frustration and disappointment.

  8. I don’t usually comment much on these, but I just saw Rosen’s post above, trying to help a single concerned voice make an appeal to the big powers that be. It gave me a sad, dull and melancholy feeling. While I appreciate Rosen’s efforts, a person here and a person there is not enough. We have to organize and say in unison – PLEASE, STOP THIS INSANITY NCB AND LOOKING OUT JUST FOR YOUR SELF-CENTERED ORGANIZATION. FOCUS ON WHAT’S RIGHT FOR THE PROFESSION FOR A CHANGE.

    AMTA says there are approximately 280,000 to 320,000 therapists and schools in the USA. If we could only come together and speak with a resounding voice, NCB would have to listen. I agree with many others on these posts that NCB and FSMTB will not be working together on anything on our behalf. Ever. It’s Pollyanna. Besides, NCB has already said they are coming back out with yet another revised revision of the already revised revision of some kind of revised new CE provider plan. LMAO. Really? They have apparently had two years to do this! Can you say, incompetent? It’s Ludicrous, and I don’t mean the rap singer. Maybe the board and Executive Director that manages NCB part time oughta stay over a day or two and get the business right.

    NCB has already recanted so many times on what they are proposing for the provider program because they either (1), can’t design something that makes sense, (2), won’t take the time to learn what’s really needed, or (3), simply can’t sell anything new in their present state of isolation from the profession.

    Isolation meaning few people support NCB anymore. My guess is that they will back off elements of the plan they first published in November because they have offended almost everyone by it in one way or another. Since they can ill-afford controversy, they will have to retrench, save face, and probably put out a “spiffed up” version of what they’ve been doing all along. Much ado about nothing.

    It’s just a shame that the Registry plan, which is TRULY a valiant attempt at revitalizing and reshaping the way we do CE in our field, will disappear into the dust. And since NCB and FSMTB will design separate program requirements which have little chance of meshing, Laura Allen’s plea to
    “… forge a unified solution for how CE should be handled…” will perish from the earth as well. Providers and therapists – prepare to be entangled between two plans. Neither NCB or FSMTB will give up face or give up ground. What an unfortunate disregard of what could have been a really forward-thinking idea.

  9. i agree with you dave. something’s wrong with them. i tried to get info from BCBTMB for weeks but got no replies, calls or emails. i know a person who was let go from there and they said there aren’t many people left and everything’s changed and doesn’t work. forget it. it’s a goner.

    i also agree we need to speak with one voice! the individual therapist who works for a living has no sway. we rely on our organizations and others to use good judgement and do good things by supporting them with our certifications and memberships and dollars. but when we don’t get good leadership in return, we all suffer.

  10. I just got back from Florida and caught up on this and other blogs. So much frustration all over. On websites, blogs, social, twitter, etc. ‎
    I wonder where it ends. Someone on this thread said it seems like the National Cert Board doesn’t care about us. Maybe that hit a little too close to home for me. It’s been about a week now since I asked NCB about some things and got a total ignore. I asked about the CE program, and got zippo. But more importantly I asked for a content breakdown on the new exam that’s out. This is what I received:

    “… At the moment, there is no breakdown of what will be on the exam.”

    This is what I was told by the staff after weeks of asking for a description of what the new exam requires a therapist to know. Can this be right?
    NCB’s old exams had a specific breakdown of the knowledge areas. My brother just took his CPA exam, and he said they have very specific content and skill specifications online so the test taker has a fair chance of knowing what to study/master. I do not want to waste my hard earned money. So yes, all the frustration and disappointment hits close to home for me right about now. I realize this blog is about CE, not exams. I apologize to the readers. But this all inter-relates I think. Patricia McCormick said, “Look. I have a strategy. Why expect anything? If you don’t expect anything, you don’t get disappointed.” Sadly, that’s sounding more and more like my strategy with NCBTMB. Peace out. 🙁

  11. Aj I feel you. I sounds bad. But maybe we need to give them time to figure all this out right.

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