NCBTMB Call for Comments: 911 for Approved Providers

The NCBTMB has decided to call for comments on their latest revisions for the CE/Approved Provider program–something they should have done before they ever unrolled the plan to start with–and I can virtually guarantee they aren’t going to like the responses they receive. I have been cc’d on numerous letters to them from providers, and so far, the only responses I have seen are anger and disgust.

I’m not one to get too bent out of shape about paperwork, and in reality, the revised new requirements are not adding that much of a burden, time-wise. One wants to assume if you are teaching a class that you actually have all the paperwork they are asking to see. Uploading it shouldn’t be such a big deal.

The flash point here is the almighty dollar. It is no secret that the NCBTMB has lost a lot of revenue to the MBLEx in the past few years, and there’s no indication that trend will ever reverse itself. The NCB is proposing quite a drastic increase in approved provider fees, no doubt hopeful that it will increase their financial coffers.

I personally have organizational approval. In their new paradigm, I am considered a “small” organization. In spite of that, my renewal fee is jumping from $300 to $750. Larger organizations are taking a much bigger hit. The biggest increase is going to fall on trade shows and conferences….something I personally enjoy attending. There are already some conferences out there that don’t pay the instructors (or only pay those who are at the top of the big heap), but instead provide them with a table to sell their wares. That’s well and good, but I don’t carry my wares around, personally. My publisher is usually at big conferences, so I don’t go to the expense of shipping books to sell. They’re there selling mine and those of the other authors they represent, and in reality, if I were to pay to ship them myself, my profit would be so miniscule it wouldn’t be worth the trouble. Those conferences, as well as those that do pay instructors, are going to see a big increase in the amount of money they have to pay, so the fallout is going to be either paying the instructors less, charging the students more, or both.

While I frequently get invited to teach in other places, I sometimes host as few as six classes a year at my own facility. I spend several thousand dollars a year to advertise these events. I handle all the registrations, I provide massage tables and linens so people don’t have to worry about transporting those, and I provide snacks for the classes. I pay the instructor 70%–and sometimes more. In the past, when I’ve had a teacher scheduled to come from out of state and they didn’t get the minimum number of students they wanted, I have forgone my percentage altogether in order to make the class happen.

Like many instructors, money isn’t my primary motivation. It’s the love of education, and the thrill that I get when a student calls me up a year or two later and says “Thank you so much. What I learned in  your class that day has really increased my business.”

Providers will really not have any choice at all except to pass this increase in costs on to those who attend our classes.

Adding insult to injury, the FSMTB seems to be charging ahead with their ill-conceived plan to do away with continuing education requirements altogether, except for the classes centered around “public protection” that they plan to offer from their own website.

I’m beginning to think we might as well give up continuing education altogether. We have a couple of national organizations here, one who is in dire need of money and looking at CE providers as the cash cow that will keep them afloat, and the other who is already rolling in money and wants to force their ownership of continuing education down our throats. I don’t like either scenario.

While I am glad that the NCBTMB decided to send out the call for comments, I am wondering how they are going to yet again revise this plan after they see that those comments are all negative. So far, I haven’t seen one single comment on my networks that is in support of this plan and these price increases.

If you have not added your two cents worth yet, I urge you to view this video and then fill out the survey. The NCB has left plenty of space for comments, and you should seize this opportunity to give them your opinion.

11 Replies to “NCBTMB Call for Comments: 911 for Approved Providers”

  1. I have a serious issue with the stipulation that NCBTMB has proposed that you must undergo a criminal background check UNLESS you are NCBTMB certified. Seems to be rimming around extortion to me. I have no problems if my state requires me to have a criminal background check at every single renewal period. I have a problem w/ NCBTMB requiring me to pony up additional $$ to be certified by them (absolutely NO value to this certification), or pony up $$ to undergo their CBC.

    I have submitted my comments on this and their new fee structure to NCBTMB. I have also tendered my resignation to them on their exam development committees. While others may feel they can still be a viable and valuable asset to this fledgling profession, I believe they have truly worn out their welcome. It’s time to move along smartly.

    While FSMTB’s proposal may be flawed, it does exactly what the boards are charged with doing — protecting the public safety. It also does not change the total # of hours required by state law (ie NC law) for license renewal. It does say that they will provide 12 hours or so of ethics & professional practice. The other 12 would be courses in professional development that another organization could provide. This, I believe, was FSMTB’s attempt to keep NCBTMB on the playing field.

    Those courses that NCBTMB currently approves such as the ones you and I teach would still be viable/ valuable for license renewal. They are professional development courses. However, NCBTMB’s mucking about continues to erode the confidences of the members of the profession. Again, it’s time to move along, smartly, and without the hullaballu this organization is trying to pass off as “new and improved”.

  2. One initial thing I’m puzzled by, before watching the video you linked to, is why, as a CE provider, did I only learn about this from you vs. from the NCBTMB? Are they really relying on people to periodically check the NCBTMB website and/or word of mouth to distribute updates?!

  3. The NCB must think massage therapists have incomes to match physicians. Everything you have done here results in cost increases for struggling and not so struggling massage therapist’s. The high cost for organizations and the new high tax on individual instructors will be passed on to the students and you must know that. You are going in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons. There are solutions but the NCB board would have to be willing to give up some autonomy and your recent actions indicate you are still moving in the opposite direction, which is why you find yourselves where you are now.

  4. OOPS! I meant to lead my last post with: “This is what I submitted in the comment box to the NCBTMB”
    Thanks for the survey link Laura

  5. Twenty minutes is a long time to get their message across. And their message seems to be, in its entirety, “here’s how you can give us money”.

    I didn’t see them address any motivation why I should do so–nothing about “here’s the value we provide you for your money”, which I think they should have led with.

    And although they claimed they had considered all points of view, I did not see my biggest concern addressed: an evaluation of foundational health-sciences course information content appropriate to an industry that aspires to be a modern healthcare profession.

    As long as counterfactual misinformation and pseudoscience are given a free pass because of some perceived “lineage”, we will continue to rehash the same old battles over and over, to the detriment of our clients.

    I actually have sympathy for the members of the NCB–at a historic crossroads in the evolution of MT into a healthcare profession, they find themselves in a very difficult position, between Scylla and Charybdis in the old stories. But I don’t think that avoiding the problem of dealing with misinformation in the courses they approve, and focusing on how we can give them money, rather than on how they can give us value, is going to resolve that difficult position.

    I gave the video a fair listen, even though 20 minutes seemed a bit excessive, but I heard nothing that changed the conclusion I had come tp previously–that I can’t afford their terms, on more than just a monetary basis.

  6. Honestly, I feel it’s time for the NCBTMB to be replaced by an organization that values its members and truly cares about continuing education. Right now, it’s purely a money machine. I am not a provider at this time, and will never be a provider as long as my class content must be evaluated by an organization I distrust. I also have no intentions of renewing my membership.

  7. NCBTMB was foolish enough to try an implement a radical change to its existing Approved CE Provider program without putting it out for comment. Because their new Board Approved CE Provider program was so out of touch with the needs of the field, and what is really happening on the landscape, NCB pulled it back to revise it.

    I was hoping that NCB’s leaders would take seriously the comments that had been submitted, and would dial back the CE approval program to a reasonable level. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In order to find out what the revised program contained and submit new comments through a survey form provided by NCB, interested parties are forced to watch a 20-minute mind-numbing video of a PowerPoint read-through by NCB’s immediate past chair Alexa Zaledonis. It is an insult to our intelligence to have to be spoon-fed this information, instead of being able to page through the slides in about three minutes. Such treatment does not engender good will for NCB.

    I was sorely disappointed to see that the bulk of the “upgraded” approval program was still in place. Other than re-including schools and associations in the approval scheme, the revised version still has absurd, excessive and expensive requirements.

    In the white paper I published in February that presented an alternative solution to CE regulation in the massage and bodywork field, I presented two key points that suggest that the approach being taken by NCB is deeply flawed: 1) Quality assurance is not possible in a process of approving CE providers and/or courses because of the endemic deficits in teacher skills and instructional design; and 2) Public protection is not a valid rationale for a high-cost, high-stakes approval process because the practice of massage therapy presents extremely little risk of harm to the public.

    NCB is ignoring these two glaring realities, and is continuing to promote its CE approval program based on claims that it will improve quality assurance and elevate the profession — and that it will increase public protection. It’s just not acceptable for one of the major organizations in our field to be promoting itself based on false or misleading information.

    NCB has alienated many people in our field over the years, and has rather little trust or believability. There is no demonstrable value to their new Board Certification credential at the outset, despite the impressive-sounding list of benefits they have on their website. Smoke and mirrors won’t sell this program — they have to begin operating from what’s real.

    As I’ve commented on this blog previously, NCB is courting danger here and could find itself with few practitioners who are willing to become Board Certified, and few CE providers who are willing to pay through the nose and jump through needless administrative hoops to remain NCB approved providers.

    NCB and FSMTB could save their respective organizations much pain — and the CE provider community would be far better off — if our field shifted to a simpler and more streamlined National Continuing Education Registry, as I have outlined in my white paper. If you haven’t read it, here’s the link to download the document:

    Dear colleagues… I hate for to waste your time, but do sit through the NCB video so that you can submit your frank and detailed comments directly to NCB on their CE approval program. It’s the only thing that will make a difference at this point.

  8. The first 30 seconds of this video are too stupid to warrant spending 18+ minutes of my busy life watching it. Can’t NCBMTB afford an editor? Maybe that’s why they need to make so much more money!

  9. I am appalled – again. A reaction that is almost synonymous with this organization. I agree with so many of the above comments that NCB has lost its collective mind, trying to strangle the CE profession by adding burden and financial hardship to individual therapists who will most certainly bear the extreme cost increase of affording CE. You can’t save your skin by holding CE hostage as your personal cash cow to cover a deficit in business acumen. I agree with Rosen, soon, no one will value anything NCB puts forth. Enjoy it while you can I guess. (And to anyone who decides to slog through that inane video, a good belt of something strong should help deaden the pain.)

  10. Over-regulation never gets the job done. History is supposed to be a good teacher, and it might be if we listened. What is happening to our wonderful profession? I have never taken a class that did not have teacher who was not extremely concerned about quality and delivery. The participants really getting it, and carrying forth excellent technique on clientele. Let them continue with their programs as such. Meanwhile, it feels like the therapists themselves are no longer being recognized and represented anywhere. Its all about big business and if you ask me, it is a total contradiction to the individual work itself. The days of the very caring and fully effective 60 minute massage and 15 minute detailed health interview are dwindling. What a disaster.

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