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COVID-19: Meeting on Industry Leadership & Guidance

03/20/2020 2:34 PM | Anonymous

Dear NYSSMMT Members and all NY LMTs,


Today’s communication is an update from yesterday’s membership video chat meeting. This letter will also address other concerns impacting the membership and the greater New York State Massage Therapy profession in leadership, guidance, treatment, continuing education and financial relief. COVID-19 remains a fluid situation, so please stay abreast with NYSSMMT to receive comprehension on what is applicable to a New York Licensed Massage Therapist.


GUIDANCE “Who is leading us?”

This continues to require clarification. First, let us remember our basic training. In the state of New York, massage therapy and its therapists - whether you work in a spa, salon, medical or private setting - massage therapists are licensed healthcare professionals. Licensed healthcare professionals are subject to all healthcare laws of local municipalities, state and federal laws. Your guidance through COVID-19 is primarily from those government agencies, not a massage organization. Starting with the New York State Office of Professions (NYSOP), click here for their page on COVID-19 for licensed healthcare workers. It is the responsibility of every licensed healthcare professional to know the laws.


“So what is a massage membership good for?"  Since 1927, NYSSMMT is a not-for-profit corporation designated as a 501(c) 6 professional association subject to non-profit and not-for-profit corporation laws. That IRS designation means we advance the massage therapy profession in various ways- primarily supporting the career of our members. We are not unions and we are not social clubs. When health is the main agenda or on the frontline as we are currently experiencing, NYSSMMT brings leadership through one voice to align all stakeholders in massage therapy. Membership in NYSSMMT is vital to ensure understanding of the government compliances to the massage therapist and bring understanding of the needs of massage therapists to the government agencies.


TO TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT?  “Social distancing vs. needing income?” Update: 3.20.20  4 :00 pm  Non-Essential workers, including NY LMTs to stay home and no in-home treatments

The Center for Disease Control and government leaders are guiding the nation to practice social distancing. That is not possible for those who are licensed healthcare professionals who are essential at this time.


All massage associations cannot tell a NY LMT to cease or continue treating patients/clients. That is an individual choice. However, we can give you factual information from the government agencies for you to formulate your decision. At the time of this writing, there is no New York State law preventing ALL LICENSED HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS (and that includes LMTs) to cease treatments. Taken from the website of the New York State Department of Health as of March 18th, it is strongly advised only services and businesses that are essential stay open after 8:00PM:

  • Groceries
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical facilities

Please check your local municipalities if there are new compliances impacting massage therapy from a healthcare standpoint. Speaking with our NYSSMMT members in various medical settings, those who are no longer treating is a direct result of the prioritizing of non-essential healthcare to aid in making more hospital beds available for COVID-19. Others in smaller facilities are still providing treatments. You being a healthcare provider, NYSSMMT will leave you with this one question for your practice… “Is the massage treatment essential to your patient/client?”


Updates EST

3.19.20 8:45 am 

  • Governor Cuomo exempts workers in shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions from executive order directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20.  Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50 percent. 

CONTINUING EDUCATION My registration is up for renewal. Updated 5.14.2020

You still have to do continuing education to renew your registration. Good news is NYSOP has waived the limits for self-study education for those NY LMTs whose registration is scheduled for renewal between March 1, 2020 - September  1, 2020. Continuing education completed 100% self-study will be accepted. NYSSMMT is redesigning its continuing education plan and will release an online schedule in the near future. We have provided free continuing education in the past to our members and we hope to do so in the future.


FINANCIAL RELIEF

Every individual and business will be financially impaired. NYSSMMT will be in contact with the government agencies and various massage, spa and wellness associations to gauge the industry needs. There are a few state, national and separate efforts in development to provide financial aid or supporting programs for all citizens and/or massage therapists. NYSSMMT will do its best to streamline the details of these resources for the ease of our members. As we celebrate 93 years of our existence this month, we are extending our current 93rd Anniversary promotion to June 30, 2020 to become an annual Active Practitioner member for only $93. Visit www.nyssmmt.org for further details. 


Updates EST

3.18.2020 7:13 pm, Small Business Association Disaster Loans are now available, click here

3.19.2020 9:15 am, President signs Coronavirus Relief Act into Law

12:44 pm, NY City Small Business Services:  COVID-19 Assistance and Guidance

6:36 pm, Facebook Small Business Grants


The Board and I recognize the overwhelming COVID-19 information coming to you from all sources as you are maintaining your health and livelihood. We will do our best to balance the frequency of communication and content hoping to make a professional impact and provide genuine support.


Thank you for your attention.


Serving with open hands,

Louis A. Mazzella, Ed. M, LMTPresident, The New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, Inc.


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