SECTION 1. Chapter 13 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 2 sections:-
Section 109. (a) There shall be a board of registration in bodywork therapy consisting of 7 members who are residents of the commonwealth appointed by the governor, 3 of whom shall be licensed bodywork therapists engaged in the practice of bodywork therapy in the commonwealth for not fewer than 5 years immediately preceding appointment or, in the case of initial appointments, who are able to provide proof of: (i) not fewer than 500 hours of bodywork therapy for compensation; (ii) authorization to practice bodywork therapy issued by a municipal board of health within the commonwealth within the preceding 2 years; or (iii) not fewer than 40 hours of bodywork therapy performed within a licensed healthcare facility; 1 of whom shall be a health agent, board member or other health professional employed by or elected to a municipal board of health within the commonwealth; 1 of whom shall be an individual engaged in the operation of a bodywork therapy education program; and 2 of whom shall be consumers of bodywork therapy. Board members shall be subject to chapter 268A.
(b) Board members shall be appointed for a term of 3 years; provided, however, that of the members first appointed to the board, 3 shall serve for a term of 3 years, 2 shall serve for a term of 2 years and 2 shall serve for a term of 1 year. Upon expiration of their terms members of the board shall continue to hold office until the appointment of a successor. A member may be removed by the governor for cause. Upon the death, resignation or removal for cause of any member of the board, the governor shall fill the vacancy for the remainder of that member’s term.
(c) The board shall at its first meeting and annually thereafter elect from among its members, by majority vote, a chairman and vice-chairman. The board shall meet at least once every 3 months and may hold additional meetings as necessary for the discharge of its duties. Members shall receive no compensation but shall be entitled to reasonable travel expenses. The members of the board shall be public employees for the purposes of chapter 258 for all acts or omissions within the scope of their duties as board members.
Section 110. The board shall have the following powers and duties: (i) to administer and enforce sections 265 to 272, inclusive, of chapter 112; (ii) to adopt rules and regulations governing the licensure of bodywork therapists, the practice of bodywork therapy and the operation of bodywork therapy establishments and schools to promote the public health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the commonwealth; (iii) to establish standards of professional and ethical conduct; (iv) to establish standards for continuing education reflecting acceptable national standards; (v) to investigate complaints, conduct inspections, review billing and treatment records and set and administer penalties as defined in sections 61 to 65F, inclusive, and sections 265 to 272, inclusive, of chapter 112 for fraudulent, deceptive or professionally incompetent and unsafe practices and for violations of rules and regulations promulgated by the board; and (vi) to make available to the public a list of licensed bodywork therapists.
SECTION 2. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 9 sections:-
Section 265. As used in this section and sections 266 to 272, inclusive, the following words shall have the following meanings:-
“Board”, the board of registration of bodywork therapy established in section 109 of chapter 13.
“Licensed bodywork establishment”, an office, clinic, spa, salon or other establishment licensed by the board to offer bodywork services.
“Bodywork” or “bodywork therapy”, the use of touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body including, but not be limited to: the Feldenkrais method; reflexology; the Trager approach; Ayurvedic therapies; Rolf structural integration; polarity or polarity therapy; polarity therapy bodywork; Asian bodywork therapy; acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; body-mind centering and Bowenwork; provided, however, that bodywork or bodywork therapy shall not include massage as that term is defined in section 227, nor the practice or instruction in yoga or Reiki; and provided, further, that bodywork therapy shall not include diagnosis of illness or disease, the prescription of drugs or medicines, spinal or other joint manipulations, electrical stimulation, application of ultrasound or any services or procedures for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or podiatry is required by law.
“Bodywork therapist” or “bodywork practitioner”, a person licensed by the board that instructs or administers bodywork or bodywork therapy for compensation.
Section 266. (a) No person shall advertise or be otherwise characterized as a bodywork therapist or practice bodywork or bodywork therapy unless that person holds a valid license issued in accordance with this chapter; provided, however, that a student of bodywork therapy enrolled in a bodywork therapy program approved by the board may engage in a required clinical component of the student’s course of study under the guidance of a licensed bodywork therapist and for no compensation.
(b) The following individuals shall be exempt from the licensure requirements of this section: (i) a person duly licensed, registered or certified in another state, territory, the District of Columbia or a foreign country who is temporarily in the commonwealth to teach a course related to bodywork therapy or to consult with a person licensed as a bodywork therapist under this chapter; (ii) a person providing bodywork therapy to a member of that person's immediate family for which the person receives no compensation; (iii) a person who holds a professional license, certificate or registrationunder the General Laws who performs services within the scope of practice authorized by the license, certificate or registration but does not hold themselves out to be a bodywork therapist; and (iv) a person, duly licensed, registered or certified in another state, territory, the District of Columbia, or a foreign country, who is incidentally in the commonwealth to provide service as part of an emergency response team working in conjunction with disaster relief officials..
Section 267. (a) An applicant for licensure as a bodywork therapist shall submit an application on a form furnished by the board. The information included in the application shall be attested to and signed by the applicant. Each application shall be accompanied by payment of the fee prescribed by the executive office of administration and finance under section 3B of chapter 7. Upon submission of a completed application to the board and the payment of the required fees, the board may issue a license to practice as a bodywork therapist to an applicant who: (i) is 18 years of age or older; (ii) is of good moral character as determined by the board; (iii) has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent; (iv) has submitted 2 professional letters of reference including at least 1 letter from an employer or licensed professional in the field of bodywork therapy or a similar field as defined by the board; (v) has successfully completed a course of study or training program approved by the board; (vi) has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a sexually-related crime or a crime involving moral turpitude during the 10 years immediately preceding the date of application; (vii) provides proof of adequate professional liability coverage as determined by the board; and (viii) demonstrates professional competence as determined by the board.
(b) The director of the division of professional licensure shall determine the renewal cycle and renewal period for bodywork therapy licenses. Each person licensed in accordance with these sections may apply to the board for renewal of a license on or before the expiration date, as determined by the director, unless the license was revoked, suspended or canceled earlier by the board as a result of a disciplinary proceeding instituted pursuant to this chapter. Applications for renewal shall be made on forms furnished by the board and accompanied by payment of a renewal fee, as prescribed by the executive office of administration and finance under section 3B of chapter 7, which fee shall not be less than $100.
(c) As a condition of renewal of a license each licensed bodywork therapist shall furnish the board with satisfactory proof that the licensee: (i) has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a sexually-related crime or a crime involving moral turpitude during the term of licensure; (ii) carries adequate professional liability coverage as determined by the board; and (iii) has completed the required number of relevant continuing education hours on the practice of bodywork therapy and business practices as determined by the board. The board shall issue a renewal license upon satisfactory proof of compliance with the licensing requirements. The board may provide for the late renewal of a license which has lapsed and may require payment of a late fee. All licensing and application fees collected pursuant to sections 265 to 272, inclusive, shall be deposited into the trust fund established in section 35V of chapter 10.
(d) Every person receiving a license from the board shall conspicuously display the license in the licensee’s place of business.
Section 268. The board may provide reciprocal licenses for registered, certified or licensed bodywork therapists from other jurisdictions if the standards of registration, certification or licensure in their jurisdictions are reasonably equivalent to those set forth in section 267. The board shall promulgate regulations to implement this section. The fee for a reciprocal license shall be prescribed by the executive office of administration and finance under section 3B of chapter 7 and shall not be less than $100. An applicant shall not be granted reciprocity if the applicant’s license to practice has been revoked or suspended in another jurisdiction. The board, subject to a vote of the majority of its members, may revoke a license if the license, certificate of registration issued by another state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia or a foreign state or nation has been revoked, cancelled, suspended, or otherwise acted against, or if the holder has been disciplined in that jurisdiction where the basis for the action would constitute a basis for disciplinary action in the commonwealth.
Section 269. The board may grant a license to an individual who: (i) submits a completed application and pays the necessary fee prescribed by the executive office of administration and finance under section 3B of chapter 7; (ii) is 18 years of age or older; (iii) is of good moral character as determined by the board; (iv) has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent; (v) has submitted 2 professional letters of reference including at least 1 letter from an employer; (vi) provides proof of adequate professional liability coverage; (vii) has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a sexually-related crime or a crime involving moral turpitude during the 10 years immediately preceding the date of application; and (viii) submits documentation in a form determined by the board that the individual: (A) previously provided at least 500 hours of bodywork therapy for compensation to individuals other than immediate family members; (B) has been authorized by a municipal board of health in the commonwealth to practice bodywork therapy within 2 years of the date of application; or (C) previously provided at least 40 hours of bodywork therapy within a licensed healthcare facility.
Section 270. (a) The board shall conduct inspections and investigate all complaints filed relating to the proper practice of bodywork therapy and any violation of sections 265 to 272, inclusive, or any rule or regulation of the board. Complaints may be brought by any person or municipality, or the board may initiate a complaint.
(b) The board shall be under the supervision of the division of professional licensure and shall have the authority conferred under sections 61 to 65F, inclusive. For the purposes of this section and sections 61 to 65F, inclusive, conduct which places into question the holder's competence to practice bodywork therapy shall include, but not be limited to: (i) committing fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a license; (ii) criminal conduct resulting in a conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere or an admission of sufficient facts; (iii) violating a rule or regulation of the board; (iv) failing to cooperate with the board or its agents in the conduct of an inspection or investigation; (v) failing to fulfill any continuing education requirements set out by the board; or (vi) violating an ethical standard which in the board’s determination renders the person unfit to practice as a bodywork therapist including, but not limited to, inappropriate conduct or touching in the practice of bodywork therapy, offering medical opinion or diagnosis or negligence in the course of professional practice.
(c) The board may issue an order to a licensee directing the licensee to cease and desist from unethical or unprofessional conduct if the board finds, after the opportunity for a hearing, that the licensee has engaged in such conduct.
(d) A bodywork therapist whose license to practice is suspended for more than 1 year as the result of professional misconduct related to insurance fraud during the course of the licensee’s practice shall not own, operate, practice in or be employed by another bodywork therapist, massage therapist, physical therapist or chiropractor in any capacity during the course of the suspension and until the license is reinstated by the board. A second occurrence of professional misconduct related to insurance fraud during the course of a licensee’s practice shall result in the permanent revocation of the license. The licensee shall be barred from owning, operating, practicing or being employed in a business that provides bodywork therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy or chiropractic care.
(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the board's authority to impose sanctions by consent agreements that are considered reasonable and appropriate by the board. Any person aggrieved by a disciplinary action taken by the board under this chapter may file a petition for judicial review under section 64.
Section 271. Every person licensed by the board to practice bodywork therapy shall conspicuously display the license in the licensee’s place of business.
Section 272. (a) Only persons duly licensed under this chapter shall be designated as bodywork therapists and entitled to use the term “bodywork” or “bodywork therapy” when advertising or printing promotional material. Any person who uses the term “bodywork” in a professional title without being authorized to do so may be the subject of disciplinary action by the board under section 65A.
(b) Any person who: (i) knowingly aids and abets another person in the use of the term “bodywork” as part of a professional title when the person using the term is not authorized to do so; or (ii) knowingly employs unlicensed individuals in the operation of a bodywork therapy business may be the subject of a disciplinary proceeding before the board.
(c) It shall be a violation of this chapter for a person to advertise: (i) as a bodywork therapist or a bodywork therapy business unless each person employed as part of the business, and acting as a bodywork therapist, holds a valid license under this chapter; (ii) licensed bodywork therapy services with escort or dating services; (iii) as specializing in particular bodywork therapy services without an appropriate showing of competency as determined by the board; or (iv) services not recognized as bodywork therapy by the board or explicitly prohibited under section 265. The term “advertise” as used in this section shall include, but not be limited to: (A) providing a card, sign or device to another; (B) causing, permitting, or allowing a sign or marking on or in a building, vehicle or structure; (C) causing the placement of an advertisement in a newspaper, magazine or on television; or (D) listing or causing the placement of an advertisement in a directory under a classification or heading that includes the word “bodywork”.
Section 273. A city or town may adopt ordinances or by-laws relative to health and safety of the practice of bodywork therapy not inconsistent with sections 265 to 272, inclusive; provided, however, that local ordinances pertaining to bodywork therapy in effect prior to the effective date of sections 265 to 272, inclusive, of the General Laws and that are consistent with and that may exceed the requirements of those sections may remain in effect.
SECTION 3. Section 269 of said chapter 112 is hereby repealed.
SECTION 4. Chapter 140 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 207. State police or members of the police department of a city or town may, upon appropriate legal process, enter and inspect any premises in a town where bodywork or bodywork therapy services are provided under chapter 112.
SECTION 5. Section 3 shall take effect on March 1, 2019.
SECTION 6. Unless otherwise provided, this act shall take effect on September 1, 2017.
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