Georgia Massage Board’s emergency ruling ineffective without approval from Gov. Kemp

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The future of a potentially life-saving emergency action is in the hands of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after it was passed by the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy.

On a typical even-numbered year, massage therapists are required to renew their licenses by completing 24 credits of continuing education classes from approved providers. Twelve credits must consist of hands-on learning.

At their Aug. 28 meeting, board members waived those requirements “after careful consideration of the public health state of emergency, the Governor’s recent Executive Order to empower Georgians to return to work, correspondence from various stakeholders, guidance documents from national massage therapy organizations and the availability of hands-on CE courses.”

The Secretary of State’s website details the decision below:

 The emergency rule will allow all continuing education (CE) hours taken to meet the requirements to renew a massage therapy license expiring October 31, 2020 to be completed live (in-person), online, or by other distance learning methods if such hours are related to the practice of massage therapy and are obtained from an approved provider on the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork website at www.ncbtmb.org.”

Georgia Board of Massage Therapy

“It’s common sense,” said Alicia Arocho, a licensed massage therapist in Savannah. “This is what we needed… it just should have happened a long time ago.”

The ruling, however, cannot go into effect without approval from the attorney general’s and governor’s offices.

News 3 contacted a representative for the governor’s office who says the ruling is under legal review. The representative did not respond when asked about when the review is expected to be completed.

“It was frustrating enough to have to get [board members] who are part of our profession to understand and hear us, now it’s the painful frustration of we have to get somebody who doesn’t involve themselves in this field at all to hear us and understand,” said Arocho.

The deadline to renew massage licenses is Oct. 31. With that date looming, Arocho says now is the time for all therapists to call the governor’s office and demand action.

“We’re running on short time. This is something that is necessary and you have to consider the fact that there are people with severe immune issues who should not have to risk themselves just to get these hours taken care of.”

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