We’re pleased to announce that AMT’s Annual General Meeting will take place at 5pm on May 6 in Perth. We will also be hosting two one-day workshops around the AGM - Jenny Richardson will present her well-received workshop from last year’s AMT conference,"Tricky Tarsals". Colin Rossie will then present "Working the nerves of the lower limb".
All AMT members are warmly invited to attend. The AGM and networking event are free. For more information on the workshops and to register, please download the flyer and registration form. Please note that we need you to RSVP if you are attending the AGM only.
We really look forward to catching up with lots of WA peeps in May!
On May 28, the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT) announced its intention to establish a scheme it refers to as ‘AAMT Certification’.
It is difficult to ascertain from the information that AAMT has made publicly available how the proposed certification scheme would operate. However, AMT is deeply concerned by the claims that AAMT has made to support the establishment of the scheme and sceptical about the motherhood statements relating to its intended impact and effect.
On its website, AAMT has stated that:
Most other Massage associations do not have the staff, skills or resources to undertake this program. By taking a leadership role AAMT can help all associations achieve the goal of consistent quality assurance.
AMT has not vetted or approved this certification scheme. We strongly object to the misleading assertion that this work has been conceived and undertaken on our behalf.
AAMT also states:
AAMT has approached a number of key stakeholders to recognise and adopt the Certification scheme.
To date, AAMT has not consulted with AMT on any aspect of the scheme. AMT first became aware of the proposal on May 28.
In its description, AAMT uses a range of terms to describe its concept of certification, including best practice, quality assurance, accreditation, trademarked specialties, trademarked titles of practice, accredited specialist and qualifications. The details provided are unclear and confusing. It is impossible to determine whether these terms are being used interchangeably. However, AMT is deeply troubled by the possibility that this proposal is an attempt by AAMT to control qualifications and training that has been developed in the public interest through the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Although it is not clear from the information that AAMT has made available, it would seem that AAMT is proposing to trademark 15 professional "accredited" modalities or "titles of practice" under the scheme, including ‘Remedial Massage Therapist’. Other proposed titles include "Chinese Therapist" and "Thai Therapist". We assume the latter titles refer to skills sets and are not racial designations. However, the proposed terminology is insupportable for self-evident reasons.
Manifestly, it will not be possible to trademark terms such as Remedial Massage Therapist, which are in common general usage. AMT will monitor any attempts to do so regardless.
AAMT has stated that certification will:
- assist other Massage and Myotherapy Associations with resources to achieve a higher standard of quality assurance for their members, despite limited resources
- create a nationally-recognised high quality assurance program that all associations, Therapists and consumers can understand and access
- facilitate greater levels of collaboration on industry-wide issues
- create a universal and independent standard for the sector.
The massage therapy sector already has a ‘universal and independent’ certification standard that all associations, therapists and consumers can understand and access. It is called the Australian Qualifications Framework and includes the suite of qualifications that have been developed as part of our shared national competency standards. These qualifications are issued in a transparent regulatory system. Competency standards are developed and reviewed communally by industry stakeholders within a third-party governance framework that has inbuilt mechanisms to address conflicts of interest.
AAMT states that:
Certification capitalises on the new improved training requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and new legislation introduced by the Federal Government during 2015, which regulates qualifications in Australia.
Around 85 per cent of AAMT members already have the qualifications and quality assurance to become Accredited specialists. Therapists from all Associations will be able to apply and complete the process of Accreditation.
AMT will stringently oppose any certification scheme that involves needless duplication of standards articulated through the Australian Qualifications Framework. Further, AMT will oppose any scheme that creates extra costs for therapists through pointless duplication of existing qualification and governance structures.
AMT will also oppose any attempt to take ownership of intellectual property associated with qualifications established within the Australian Qualifications Framework.
AMT would also oppose any certification scheme that unfairly benefits or gives undue legitimacy to providers of privately owned qualifications and training.
Certification in itself does not require you to change what you are doing. If you are not Accredited you will not be able to use the recognised Titles of Practice that are Trademarked under the scheme.
AAMT has not specified costs in connection with "accreditation".
AMT will not support a system that requires therapists to recertify (for want of a better term) their nationally recognised qualifications in remedial massage, myotherapy, soft tissue therapy, TCM massage therapy and shiatsu therapy. Therapists should not be forced to "accredit" just to avoid being pursued for trademark infringement.
At this stage, it is unclear how certification would impact therapists who are currently being grandfathered.
The certification scheme does not appear to encompass therapists who hold Certificate IV qualifications. It is unclear what the ramifications of this might be for massage therapists who hold qualifications at this level.
AMT is actively monitoring AAMT’s proposal. We will keep you informed of any developments. Please be reassured that AMT will seek to disrupt and dismantle any scheme that operates to the detriment and disadvantage of our members and the sector at large.
AMT is currently offering a special deal to therapists transferring from another association. Transfer to AMT now and we will give you an extra three months on your first year of membership with us. This means that if you join in June 2016 you won’t need to renew until September 2017.
This fact sheet provides an overview of how easy it is to transfer your membership to AMT and lists the documentation we require.
We will need to determine the currency of your provider status with the private health funds before we can process a transfer. If you have current provider status we can carry that across to our health fund lists. We would be happy to give you specific advice on where you stand.
Please call our Head Office on 02 9211 2441 so we can assess whether you are eligible to transfer your membership to AMT.
Notice is hereby given of the 2016 AMT Annual General Meeting, to be held on Sunday 13 March commencing at 9.30a.m. at 20 Chester Street Newstead, Brisbane.
Please find the AGM agenda here.
As part of AMT’s ongoing governance reform, we will be tabling some motions for change to the AMT Constitution at this AGM. To read the rationale behind these proposed changes, please read the motions for change to the AMT Constitution.
If you are unable to attend the AGM, please consider having your voice represented by submitting a proxy voting form to AMT Head Office at least 24 hours prior to the AGM
We hope to see you in March in Brisbane!
Members are warmly invited to attend the 2016 AMT AGM, which will be held in Brisbane on 13 March. After the meeting, Jeff Murray will present his hands-on workshop, Tricks of the Trade. Jeff will be incorporating some of the insights he has gleaned from studying with Kenzo Kase, the pioneer of kinesio taping.
Download the flyer and registration form here.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA, formerly known as NSW WorkCover) has released its 2016 fees order.
The maximum fees for Massage Therapists are as follows:
As of January 1, massage therapists are longer required to be approved by SIRA to deliver services in the NSW Workers Compensation system. All massage therapists have five pre-approved treatment sessions for workers in the NSW workers’ compensation system. Any ongoing treatment services beyond these five treatments must be requested using either the Remedial Massage Treatment Plan or the Allied Health Recovery Request. Both constitute a request for approval to continue treatment beyond the initial five services.
You can download the Remedial Massage Treatment plan here.
You can download the Allied Health Recovery request here.
In mid-2016, SIRA will release a NSW workers compensation guide for allied health practitioners. The guide will set out the expectations and procedures for all allied health practitioners delivering services within the NSW workers compensation system. It will replace the Remedial Massage Therapists Guide to WorkCover NSW.
With the exodus from private health insurance proceeding apace, the Government is currently consulting with Australians to determine how it can make private health cover more attractive. As part of the public consultation, Health Minister, Sussan Ley, has just launched a Government survey regarding private health insurance.
One of the questions in the survey concerns what should be included within ancillary cover packages. Respondents are asked to rate the importance of inclusions such as massage/natural therapies.
Please participate in the survey and let the Government know that you place high value on massage therapy.
The survey takes around 5 minutes to complete. You’ll find it here.
Please also distribute this flyer to your clients to get them involved in the consultation.
The Queensland Government has recently enacted the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers (Queensland). The Code was introduced on 1 October 2015 and applies to all healthcare workers in Queensland, including massage therapists.
The Queensland Code provides a benchmark against which the Health Ombudsman can make decisions about issues with the healthcare provided by unregistered practitioners. It sets minimum standards of conduct for healthcare workers and is substantially based on the NSW Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners, which has been in force in NSW since 2008.
Queensland members can download a copy of the Code here.
One of the requirements of the Code is that therapists must display a copy in their clinic. You can download a poster version here.
If you practise in Queensland, you need to review the Code thoroughly to ensure that you are meeting your statutory obligations as a healthcare worker. If you need any assistance or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact AMT Head Office.
AMT has announced the program for the 2015 National Educators’ Forum, which will be held on October 23 in Sydney.
The program for the forum is focused around implementation of the new training package assessment requirements. For more information, including registration, please download the flyer.
September 7-13 is National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW). To celebrate, AMT shares its tips for how to choose a good massage therapist. You can download AMT’s 2015 NMTAW media release here.
Stay tuned for further resources to be circulated via social media as NMTAW unfolds.
Terra Rosa is offering AMT members a 10% discount on Core Myofascial Therapy and Functional Fascial taping workshops. For more information, download the flyer.
WorkCover NSW has announced that it is lifting its moratorium on remedial massage therapy providers on 1 January 2016. From that date, remedial massage therapists will not have to be WorkCover approved to provide services within the NSW Workers’ Compensation system.
Here is the official notification from WorkCover NSW:
"WorkCover NSW is undertaking a review of the Allied Health Practitioner Management Framework. The objective of the review is to align with system objectives resulting from the 2012 legislative reforms of an increased focus on recovery at work; to improve consistency across the various allied health provider groups; and reduce red tape.
WorkCover advises an outcome of this review is the decision to no longer require Remedial Massage Therapists to be approved by WorkCover to deliver services in the NSW Workers’ Compensation system.
This change will take effect from 1 January 2016. The current moratorium on approval of Remedial Massage Therapists will remain in place until this date."
AMT will keep you informed of further developments.
AMT has released a position statement on orphanage volunteering for massage therapists.
While AMT recognises and acknowledges that sometimes institutions are the only choice for vulnerable children, we do not support, endorse or promote orphanage tourism. AMT's position on this is consistent with major international child welfare agencies, charities and advocacy groups.
Please take the time to read the full position statement.
Read AMT’s media release here.
Are exams and assignments starting to stress you out? How do you like the sound of a holiday in the sun, with the added bonus of advancing your massage career?
AMT is offering a bursary for one lucky student to our 2015 conference. The prize includes registration to the AMT 2015 Regional Mini Conference on Friday 30 October and Saturday 31 October and three nights accommodation at the conference venue (Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour) in a resort room, breakfast included. You will receive morning and afternoon teas and lunch during the conference and a ticket to the conference dinner on Saturday night.
For more details, including entry forms, download the competition flyer
A workforce survey that AMT undertook in 2010 is featured in the current edition of the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
The research article, titled "Practice and research in Australian massage therapy: a national workforce survey", appears in the June 2015 issue of the open access journal. Sincere thanks to the 301 AMT members who took part in the survey back in 2010. You've helped to provide a platform for the current study with the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), which has now moved into its second phase (the patient arm). We’re looking forward to sharing the results of that study with you soon.
You can download the full IJTMB article here.
AMT is thrilled to be hosting Advanced-Trainings again this year. Presenters Bethany Ward and Larry Koliha are returning to Australia in October and November by popular demand.
As well as presenting at the AMT mini-regional conference in Coffs Harbour, Bethany and Larry will travel to Perth, Canberra and Sydney to present follow-up workshops. To view the workshop schedule and register, please download the flyer here
AMT is pleased to announce that registrations are now open for the 2015 annual conference in Coffs Harbour. Please browse the conference section of the AMT website for the full program.
Read AMT's Media Release here.
AMT has rolled out a regional media campaign featuring AMT members, with the aim of raising awareness of our "Save the Rebate" petition. Read the Media Release here.
Less than three weeks before the Federal Government was expected to make changes to the government funding for natural therapies, Health Minister Sussan Ley revealed she would take into account "broader considerations".
Last week, The Australian reported that Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley downplayed the prospect of the rebate being removed from policies that cover natural therapies.
Ms Ley was reported as saying: "Taxpayers receive the private health rebate based on their entire policy, so it's not as simple as turning off the tap for one type of treatment as Labor was trying to make out."
"It's important to remember Labor launched this broader review of natural therapies as part of their multi-billion-dollar raid on private health insurance rebates in government - it was never about health outcomes for patients.
"We therefore need to make sure Labor's plan to cut funding for people using natural therapies doesn't end up having a negative impact for all consumers instead."1
This revelation coincides with Private Healthcare Australia data which shows 1,576,409 policies had been dumped and 985,281 downgraded in three years.2
It is in the best interest of private health insurers to maintain cover for natural therapies. There is high consumer demand for natural therapies cover, especially in younger populations of policy holders.
And it is in the best interest of the Federal Government to continue to support consumer choice in private health insurance, particularly after it approved a premiums rise of 6.2 per cent on average effective from April 1 - for the second consecutive year.
The AMT "Save the Rebate" petition is putting heat on the Federal Government - the petition has had an overwhelming response from the community, and many private health care consumers have commented that they will most likely dump their private health insurance if the Government removes the rebate.
We want to show the Federal Government that health outcomes for Australians will be adversely affected if the rebate for natural therapies is axed.
Help us spread the fire. Have your voice heard. Let the Federal Government know how much massage therapy means to your healthcare. Please continue to share this petition.
You'll find the petition here.
Six weeks ago, AMT wrote to the Health Minister's office requesting information about the Department's timetable for review of the National Health and Medical Research Council's findings on the evidence for natural therapies, including massage therapy. Last Friday, we finally received a response from the Health Minister's Office (You can read the full letter below).
Basically, we were told:
"The Government is currently considering the findings of the report of the review and will announce its decision in due course"
The government's original April 1 deadline for rolling out policy changes is now only a month away. AMT remains deeply concerned about the potential impact on privately insured Australians and the therapists providing massage services. We are extremely disappointed by the lack of concrete information the Department of Health has provided in its response.
This comes off the back of the health minister's approval of an average 6.18 per cent price hike for private health insurance premiums. According to reports from the ABC, Ms Ley's advice to consumers of private health insurance is to shop around in order to get the best deal. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-27/private-health-insurance-premiums-to-increase-from-april/6269364)
Given the impending premium hike, we think consumers deserve to know what services they will be able to claim under their ancillary cover. We have again written to the Minister's office, pointing out the far-reaching consequences of the Government's decision and, again, requesting more concrete information about the Department's timetable for reviewing and acting on the NHMRC's findings.
We are grateful for your support of AMT's petition and ask you to continue to spread the word. You can find the AMT petition here.
Thank you for your correspondence of 15 January 2015 to the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. the Hon Sussan Ley, MP, Minster for Health and Minister for Sport. The minister has asked me to reply on her behalf.
The previous Government tasked the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley AO, with undertaking a review of certain natural therapies to determine whether or not these therapies should continue to attract the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance. This review commenced on 1 July 2012.
The Office of the National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) has assisted the Department with the review in the assessment of submissions and also by supervising the evidence reviews of the in-scope natural therapies.
The evidence reviews have been undertaken by independent and external expert organisations. Evidence in the submission and evidence reviews has also been assessed in the context of the NHMRC's Additional Levels of Evidence and Grades for Recommendations for Developers of Guidelines.
The Government is currently considering the findings of the report of the review and will announce its decision in due course.
I trust the above information is of assistance.
Yours sincerely, Shane Porter Assistant Secretary Private Health Insurance Branch
AMT continues to gather supporters for its petition, which calls on the Federal Health Minister to retain the private health insurance rebate for massage therapy. The petition has already garnered over 4000 signatures.
As part of the campaign, AMT is reaching out to consumers of massage therapy, encouraging them to sign the petition and contact their local member and the health minister to explain how massage fits into their healthcare plan and what conditions they use massage to treat.
AMT has released a Client Communique to help you enlist your clients in the campaign ro retain the rebate. The communique includes a brief overview of the current state of play and provides clear instructions on how clients can support the campaign. You can download the client communique here and distribute it electronically (via email) or print out copies to give to your clients. The PDF hyoerlinks directly to AMT's petition so enlisting the support of your clients is only one click away!
The AMT petition is hosted by Change.org and can be accessed here.
AMT is calling on the Federal Health Minister and Department of Health to retain the private health insurance rebate for massage therapy.
AMT has launched an online petition in response to concerns that a recent draft review of natural therapies by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) may prompt the Australian Government to remove health insurance rebates from ancillary policies that cover massage therapy.
You can download the media release here.
As part of its campaign, AMT is also reaching out to massage therapy clients, encouraging them to sign the petition and contact their local member and the health minister to explain how massage fits into their healthcare plan and what conditions they use massage to treat. You can download AMT's Client Communique here.
The AMT petition is hosted by Change.org and can be accessed here.
National Massage Therapy Awareness Week is just around the corner! We've had some great regional media coverage ahead of NMTAW. Check out the article in the Blue Mountains Gazette on page 23 here
What are you doing to mark NMTAW 2014?
AMT is excited to announce that our National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW) information kit is now online!
As you may already be aware, NMTAW (which runs from Sep 8-15) is a part of AMT's consumer outreach marketing and promotions program. During this week, members are encouraged to share the benefits of massage with their community. This year's theme is 'Connecting with your Community'.
The 2014 NMTAW kit includes ideas for marketing your business during NMTAW, consumer educational materials you can download and print out to distribute during NMTAW, a press kit to assist you to promote your NMTAW events, links to onsite massage forms and guidelines and more.
You can find the NMTAW kit here.
Have you checked out AMT's latest e-newsletter yet? You can download it here.
The 2013 AMT annual report is now available for download. We know you're as excited about this as we are! You'll find the annual report here.
AMT is thrilled to be sponsoring Advanced-Trainings.com in Australia this October/November. Bethany Ward and Larry Koliha will be presenting a series of workshops in Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
The Advanced Myofascial Techniques workshops provide practising manual therapists with highly effective techniques, tests and procedures. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, the focus is on fresh and interesting approaches that can be readily incorporated into your existing practice.
For more information and to register, please download the flyer.
There is reasonably-priced accommodation available onsite at the Sydney venue, with full or partial board options (i.e. meals included). If you are interested, please call AMT Head Office on 02 9211 2441 for more details.
AMT has moved to new office suites in Ultimo. Please take note of our new contact details:
Suite 3.02, 22-36 Mountain Street
Ultimo NSW 2007
PO Box 826
Broadway NSW 2007
Phone: 02 9211 2441
Fax: 02 9211 2281
Why not check us and our 'hood out on streetview here.
Registrations for the 2014 AMT annual conference are now open. You can browse the conference section of this website for more details or register online here.
Why not check out AMT's new monthly Research Round-up? The Research Round-Up is essentially a summary of open access massage therapy research released over the preceding month, including hyperlinks to the full free text articles available online. You can download the inaugural edition here.
The AMT Board met on November 17 at AMT Head Office in Newtown. This communique outlines the issues that were discussed at this meeting and decisions taken, as well as other points of interest.
AMT staff are currently undertaking a major update of practice addresses retained in the AMT database. We are aware that many of the addresses we retain on file are no longer current.
Retaining out-of-date practice addresses in the AMT database significantly increases the risks associated with misuse of provider numbers and health fund fraud. It also creates inefficiencies in AMT's monthly health fund reporting.
You will soon receive a letter in the mail requesting that you confirm your current practice addresses with AMT. You can help AMT protect you from fraud by returning the form to Head Office via mail, fax or email as soon as possible.
Sincere thanks for your cooperation with this process.
ARCCIM's official launch was held on August 8. ARCCIM is an initiative of Jon Adams, Professor of Public Health at the University of Technology in Sydney. He established ARCCIM in 2012 to address the obvious need for public health and health services research in complementary and integrative medicine. Research undertaken by the Centre focuses on complementary medicine practice and use, the interface between complementary and conventional practitioners, and assessing implications for policy, practice and patient care.
We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jon for the work he has done to ensure that complementary practices such as massage therapy are given due consideration in public health discourse. With millions of consultations occurring annually, credible research is clearly needed to inform policy makers on how best to integrate the various kinds of health services to maximise patient outcomes.
Jon assembled a stellar cast of speakers for the launch, testament to the influence that ARCCIM is starting to wield in the arena of public health policy. AMT is partnering with ARCCIM to conduct practice-based research into the experiences of massage therapy patients in Australia. We look forward to reporting on the progress of this research at the AMT Annual Conference in October, where will we host Jon as a guest speaker, and the next edition of the AMT journal. It is extremely gratifying for AMT to be associated with a world-class group of researchers, with the aim of furthering our understanding of patient behaviours, perceptions and experiences of massage therapy.
More news about the ARCCIM launch here.
We are thrilled to announce that AMT has just released an updated research database. Originally released in January 2013 in connection with the Department of Health and Aging's review of natural therapies, AMT is committed to updating this invaluable resource twice a year. We will continue to make it publicly available to therapists, educators, legislators, third party payment providers and members of the public via the AMT website.
This version of the database contains several significant innovations. It includes a summary of the current state of the evidence and hyperlinks to free text research available on the web ... now accessible to you at the click of a button!
You will find AMT's updated research database here.
You will also find a summary of the state of massage therapy research here.
Stay tuned for more research updates in the coming months - all part of AMT's commitment to ensuring that members are on the cutting edge of evidence-based clinical practice.
You will recall that, in last year's budget, the Federal Government announced a review of the private health insurance rebate for natural therapies, including massage.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) put out a call for submissions to the review late last year. The Department of Health and Aging is publishing updates on the review process here.
You can download AMT's submission to the CMO here.
The AMT Code of Practice was officially launched at AMT's Annual Conference in October.
The release of the final Code is a significant milestone for the massage therapy profession in Australia and we are excited about promoting this new era of professional practice to the government, members of the public and other allied health professionals.
You can download an electronic version of the AMT Code of Practice here.
At a recent press conference, Snoop Dog had this to say:
"Da AMT Code of Practice was busted out at AMTz Annual Conference up in October. Da release of tha final Code be a significant milestone fo' tha massage therapy profession up in Australia n' em crazy-ass asses is buckwild bout promotin dis freshly smoked up era of professionizzle practice ta tha posse, thugz of tha hood n' other allied game professionizzles. Yo ass can downlizzle tha AMT Code of Practice here".
You can order hard copies of the Code of Practice by sending a completed order form to AMT Head Office.