Protect Cosmetology/Massage Therapy as a Healthcare Service in Arkansas

This petition made change with 4,799 supporters!

Under Governor Hutchinson's proposed plan to streamline the government, Cosmetology and Massage Therapy are being removed from under the Department of Health into Labor and Licensing. Here is a link to the flow chart: 

Over the past three years Cosmetology has embraced Massage Therapy and we work well together. In the interest of public health we need to stay together under the Department of Health.

Moving Cosmetology & Massage Therapy away from the Department of Health has potential consequences:

·      Paves the way for deregulation - an action that will open the public to untrained and unregulated persons who can make whatever claims they want about their services

(80% of cosmetology initial training hours is in Health and Safety. Massage Therapist require a minimum of 200  hours of Anatomy, Physiology, pathology, hygiene & infection control.)

·      Reduces the ability to monitor and regulate massage establishments and salons for the illegal use by human traffickers and sex traders. 

(We need establishment licenses and Department Heads that can help navigate hearings, legislation, and inspection of health care facilities; some of which are HIPAA compliant)

·      Puts public welfare at risk by not regulating false claims of healing ability

(There are many myths about Cosmetology & Massage Therapy that are still prevalent and we need oversight that understands the differences between myth & fact.)

·      Puts public welfare at risk by uneducated persons performing dangerous soft tissue manipulations on the public that can result in permanent and semi permanent injury.

(Cosmetologists use caustic chemicals on the human body. Someone who writes legislation on Geologists may risk public health due to ignorance.  Massage Therapists can watch a video and perform a soft tissue manipulation that can permanently injure someone. Knowing when to require additional certifications requires a health related background)

·      Limits access to skilled professionals by the public.

(If we continue to take steps back and stop trying to elevate the industry, we run the risk of flooding the market with sub-par training and a reputation in Arkansas of low quality care.)

·      Limits public use of medical funds (insurance, HSA, etc.) for Massage Therapy

(If Massage Therapy is no longer deemed a health care service, insurance companies will stop paying for the service.  Insurance providers take their lead by how the states define services as to whether they with pay or not.  If the service is not considered part of healthcare, many therapists will lose their livelihood.)

When Massage Therapy & Cosmetology are viewed as trade organizations, even when we affect public health, we run the risk of harming public health through ignorance.

Cosmetologists & Massage Therapists physically touch the public in the normal daily function.  If for no other reason, these two industries should remain with the Department of Health.

In September 2017, 35 US Attorney Generals jointly called for inclusion of Massage Therapy in insurance coverage.

The National Institutes of health (NIH) has included Massage Therapy in its list of complementary therapies for many conditions, particularly chronic pain issues.

In 2017 the American College of Physicians issued guidelines recommending Massage Therapy for low back pain.

There are over 14-thousand articles on PubMed that include Massage Therapy as a search keyword.

Massage Therapy is a part of healthcare and it will do a disservice to the industry separate it from the Department of Health.  Cosmetologists affect public health and it would be a disservice to the public to separate it from the Department of Health.

Arkansas does not recognize digital petitions as a relevant path but it will serve as notice to lawmakers.

By signing this petition you agree and urge the Arkansas legislature including Governor Hutchinson and the sponsor of the Governor’s bills, Rep. Andy Davis, to reconsider moving Cosmetology & Massage Therapy away from Healthcare in the reconstruction and leave it with the Department of Health, where it currently is, and belongs.

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